Stimuli-interactive structural color (SC) of a block copolymer (BCP) photonic crystal (PC) uses reversible alteration of the PC using external fluids and applied forces. The origin of the diffusional pathways of a stimulating fluid into a BCP PC has not been examined. Here, we directly visualize the vertically oriented screw dislocations in a one-dimensional lamellar BCP PC that facilitate the rapid response of visible SC. To reveal the diffusional pathway of the solvent via the dislocations, BCP lamellae are swollen with an interpenetrated hydrogel network, allowing fixation of the swollen state and subsequent microscopic examination. The visualized defects are low-energy helicoidal screw dislocations having unique, nonsingular cores. Location and areal density of these dislocations are determined by periodic concentric topographic nanopatterns of the upper surface-reconstructed layer. The nonsingular nature of the interlayer connectivity in the core region demonstrates the beneficial nature of these defects on sensing dynamics.
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