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Shape-Dependent Oriented Trapping and Scaffolding of Plasmonic Nanoparticles by Topological Defects for Self-Assembly of Colloidal Dimers in Liquid Crystals

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posted on 22.02.2016, 06:36 by Bohdan Senyuk, Julian S. Evans, Paul J. Ackerman, Taewoo Lee, Pramit Manna, Leonid Vigderman, Eugene R. Zubarev, Jao van de Lagemaat, Ivan I. Smalyukh
We demonstrate scaffolding of plasmonic nanoparticles by topological defects induced by colloidal microspheres to match their surface boundary conditions with a uniform far-field alignment in a liquid crystal host. Displacing energetically costly liquid crystal regions of reduced order, anisotropic nanoparticles with concave or convex shapes not only stably localize in defects but also self-orient with respect to the microsphere surface. Using laser tweezers, we manipulate the ensuing nanoparticle-microsphere colloidal dimers, probing the strength of elastic binding and demonstrating self-assembly of hierarchical colloidal superstructures such as chains and arrays.