In this work, we demonstrate the bulk self-alignment of gold nanorods (GNRs) dispersed in lyotropic nematic liquid crystals (LCs) with high optical absorption coefficient at the surface plasmon resonant wavelength. The polymer-coated GNRs which show spontaneous long-range orientational ordering along the director of LC host exhibit long-term stability as well as high concentration. External magnetic field and shearing allow for alignment and realignment of the orientation of gold nanorods by changing the director of the liquid crystal matrix. This results in a switchable polarization-sensitive surface plasmon resonance exhibiting stark differences from that of the same nanorods in isotropic fluids. The devise-scale bulk nanoparticle alignment may enable optical metamaterial mass production and control of surface plasmon resonance of nanoparticles.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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