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Biophys J. 2000 Apr;78(4):2151-8.

A theoretical investigation of single-molecule fluorescence detection on thin metallic layers.

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  • 1Institute of Analytical Chemistry, Chemo- and Biosensors, University of Regensburg, PF 10 10 42, D-93040 Regensburg, Germany.


In the present paper, the excitation and detection of single-molecule fluorescence over thin metallic films is studied theoretically within the framework of classical electrodynamics. The model takes into account the specific conditions of surface plasmon-assisted optical excitation, fluorescence quenching by the metal film, and detection geometry. Extensive numerical results are presented for gold, silver, and aluminum films, showing the detectable fluorescence intensities and their dependence on film thickness and the fluorescent molecule's position under optimal excitation conditions.

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