Electrically tuned photonic crystals are produced by applying fields across shear-assembled elastomeric polymer opal thin films. At increasing voltages, the polymer opal films stretch biaxially under Maxwell stress, deforming the nanostructure and producing marked color changes. This quadratic electro-optic tuning of the photonic bandgap is repeatable over many cycles, switches within 100 ms, and bridges the gap between electro-active materials and photonic crystals.

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