Plasmonic complex fluids of nematiclike and helicoidal self-assemblies of gold nanorods with a negative order parameter

Phys Rev Lett. 2012 Aug 24;109(8):088301. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.109.088301. Epub 2012 Aug 20.


We describe a soft matter system of self-organized oblate micelles and plasmonic gold nanorods that exhibit a negative orientational order parameter. Because of anisotropic surface anchoring interactions, colloidal gold nanorods tend to align perpendicular to the director describing the average orientation of normals to the discoidal micelles. Helicoidal structures of highly concentrated nanorods with a negative order parameter are realized by adding a chiral additive and are further controlled by means of confinement and mechanical stress. Polarization-sensitive absorption, scattering, and two-photon luminescence are used to characterize orientations and spatial distributions of nanorods. Self-alignment and effective-medium optical properties of these hybrid inorganic-organic complex fluids match predictions of a simple model based on anisotropic surface anchoring interactions of nanorods with the structured host medium.