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Taking the 3-D measure of macromolecules:
Date:6/16/2011

he excitation of two sharp quadrupolar resonances that enable high-resolution plasmon spectroscopy," Liu says. "Any conformational change in this 3D plasmonic structure will produce readily observable changes in the optical spectra."

Not only did conformational changes in their 3D plasmon rulers alter light scattering wavelengths, but the degrees of spatial freedom afforded its five nanorod structure also enabled Liu and her colleagues to distinguish the direction as well as the magnitude of structural changes.

"As a proof of concept, we fabricated a series of samples using high-precision electron beam lithography and layer-by-layer stacking nanotechniques, then embedded them with our 3D plasmon rulers in a dielectric medium on a glass substrate," Liu says. "Experimental results were in excellent agreement with the calculated spectra."

Alivisatos, Liu and their Stuttgart collaborators envision a future in which 3D plasmon rulers would, through biochemical linkers, be attached to a sample macromolecule, for example, to various points along a strand of DNA or RNA, or at different positions on a protein or peptide. The sample macromolecule would then be exposed to light and the optical responses of the 3D plasmon rulers would be measured via dark field microspectroscopy.

"The realization of 3D plasmon rulers using nanoparticles and biochemical linkers is challenging, but 3D nanoparticle assemblies with desired symmetries and configurations have been already been demonstrated," Liu says. "We believe these exciting experimental achievements along with the introduction of our new concept will pave the road toward the realization of 3D plasmon rulers in biological and other soft-matter systems."


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Contact: Lynn Yarris
lcyarris@lbl.gov
510-486-5375
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

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