Torons arrayOur study shows that the self-assembly of photonic liquid crystal structures can be guided by laser beams. In a topologically frustrated chiral nematic liquid crystal, a focused beam can locally switch between a uniform state and a long-term-stable localized structure with a distorted solitonic molecular alignment field. The structures are stable over long time at no external fields, but can also be “erased” by applying a voltage pulse or “reshaped” by a laser beam. Our research group explores the fundamental physics of these phenomena in contexts of applications such as tunable photonic crystals, singular optics, data storage devices, light/voltage-controlled diffraction gratings, & all-optical information displays.