Dr. Ivan I. Smalyukh
University of Illinois
Urbana, IL 61801
Self-organized and Optically-controlled Colloidal Structures in Ordered Matrices of Soft and Biomolecular Materials
Thursday, March 1, 2007
Composite materials with ordered structures on the nanometer and micrometer scales are shaping the future technologies and devices, such as all-optical computers and telecommunications. However, these long-anticipated applications often require tunable optical properties and dynamic control of the structures by the external fields and especially by light, as needed for the all-optical applications. This lecture will demonstrate that the intrinsically-ordered soft materials can be used as tunable smart matrices for nano- and micro-sized particles and can be dynamically controlled by focused laser beams or by applying electric and magnetic fields. The motion of immersed colloidal particles in these ordered matrices can be navigated over large distances solely by changing polarization state of a stationary-focused laser beam. Moreover, I will show that the ordered soft materials allow one to align a broad range of nanorods ranging from metalic nanowires and carbon nanotubes to live bacterial cells. I will conclude with an overview of the emerging applications which encompass tunable negative-positive-index metamaterials and photonic crystals, light- or voltage-controlled diffraction gratings and large-angle non-mechanical beam steering, optical data storage devices and flexible information displays.