Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2012

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Physics

First Advisor

Dr. Ivan Smalyukh

Abstract

In this work, I use cellulose nanocrystals and demonstrate the long-range bulk dispersion and self-alignment of anisotropic metal nanoparticles at well-de ned orientation with respect to the far- eld liquid crystal director. In the case of anisotropic plasmonic nanoparticles, the liquid crystal-mediated alignment and assembly result in a switchable polarization-sensitive plasmon resonance, di erent from that of the same nanoparticles in isotropic media. Polarization-sensitive absorption, scattering, and two-photon luminescence are used to characterize orientations and spatial distributions of nanorods. E ective-medium optical properties of these hybrid inorganic-organic plasmonic complex uids match what one could expect based on entropic interactions of gold nanorods with the structured host medium of the nanocrystal- based liquid crystal. The demonstrated device-scale bulk nanoparticle self-alignment and self-assembly may enable optical metamaterial mass production and new properties arising from combining the switchable nanostructured LCs and properties of anisotropic plasmonic nanoparticles.

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