Reconfigurable assembly of nanostructures using laser pulses
Arrangements of nanostructures in well-defined patterns are the basis of photonic crystals and metamaterials. The EU-funded OPAN project expands on the success of a recently developed method of using laser pulses to displace nanostructures inside a solid medium. During this process, the standing waves can assemble complex patterns in a reversible fashion. The project will model the optical, mechanical and thermal properties of materials to identify the optimal conditions required for the low-energy assembly of complex nanostructured architectures. The project will set the stage for the fabrication of low-cost composites for photonic crystals for programmable lasers and metamaterials for active waveplates. The proposed assembly mechanism will also enable the development of a new class of 'robotic materials' with unprecedented functionalities.