Two types of non-close-packed colloidal crystal films were prepared by etching the films made of polystyrene nanospheres using a hyperthermal neutral beam of oxygen gas. Etching without sintering above glass transition temperature of the polymer particles resulted in the non-close-packed structure of the nanospheres, in which polystyrene nanospheres in different lattice planes touched each other due to the reduction in the size of the nanospheres that Occurred during the etching process. In contrast, a different non-close-packed structure with inter-connecting networks between etched nanospheres was generated by annealing of the colloidal crystal and a subsequent etching process. The photonic bandgap could be tuned during this dry etching of colloidal photonic crystals. This connected open structure Could be used as a template for a silica inverse opal by chemical vapor deposition. An alternative dry etching process, reactive ion etching, mainly affected the morphology of particles near the top surface, and only a slight change in the stop band position of the colloidal crystal film was observed. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.