Feedback-driven self-assembly of symmetry-breaking optical metamaterials in solution

Sui Yang, Xingjie Ni, Xiaobo Yin, Boubacar Kante, Peng Zhang, Jia Zhu, Yuan Wang, Xiang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Thermodynamically driven self-assembly offers a direct route to organize individual nanoscopic components into three-dimensional structures over a large scale1-3. The most thermodynamically favourable configurations, however, may not be ideal for some applications. In plasmonics, for instance, nanophotonic constructs with non-trivial broken symmetries can display optical properties of interest, such as Fano resonance, but are usually not thermodynamically favoured4. Here, we present a self-assembly route with a feedback mechanism for the bottom-up synthesis of a new class of symmetry-breaking optical metamaterials. We self-assemble plasmonic nanorod dimers with a longitudinal offset that determines the degree of symmetry breaking and its electromagnetic response. The clear difference in plasmonic resonance profiles of nanorod dimers in different configurations enables high spectra selectivity. On the basis of this plasmonic signature, our self-assembly route with feedback mechanism promotes the assembly of desired metamaterial structures through selective excitation and photothermal disassembly of unwanted assemblies in solution. In this fashion, our method can selectively reconfigure and homogenize the properties of the dimer, leading to highly monodispersed aqueous metamaterials with tailored symmetries and electromagnetic responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1002-1006
Number of pages5
JournalNature nanotechnology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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