The nanostructure of mesophase liquid crystals prepared from amphiphilic lipids controls the rate of release of incorporated agents from the material, such as drug molecules, and reversible transition between different nanostructures essentially provides an a??ona??offa?? switch for release (Fong, W.-K.; Hanley, T.; Boyd, B. J. J. Controlled Release 2009, 135, 218a??226). In this study, the incorporation of plasmonic hydrophobized gold nanorods (GNRs) permits reversible manipulation of nanostructure on-demand, by irradiation of the matrix using a near-infrared laser. Synchrotron small-angle X-ray scattering was used to probe the kinetics of the response of nanostructure to laser irradiation, and the specificity of the approach is shown by the lack of response in the absence of nanorods, or for GNR whose dimensions are not matched to the specific wavelength of the incident light.