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J Fluoresc. 2005 Mar;15(2):99-104.

Metal-enhanced fluorescence from plastic substrates.

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  • 1Laboratory for Advanced Medical Plasmonics, Institute of Fluorescence, Medical Biotechnology Center, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, 725 West Lombard St., Baltimore, Maryland 21201, USA.


We report the first findings of Metal-Enhanced Fluorescence (MEF) from modified plastic substrates. In the past several years our laboratories have reported the favorable effects of fluorophores in close proximity to silver nanoparticles. These effects include, enhanced fluorescence intensities, (increased detectability), and reduced lifetimes, (enhanced fluorophore photostability). All of these reports have featured silver nanostructures and fluorophores which have been immobilized onto clean glass or quartz surfaces. In this report we show how plastic surfaces can be modified to obtain surface functionality, which in turn allows for silver deposition and therefore metal-enhanced fluorescence of fluorophores positioned above the silver using a protein spacer. Our findings show that plastic substrates are ideal surfaces for metal-enhanced phenomena, producing similar enhancements as compared to clean glass surfaces. Subsequently, we speculate that plastic substrates for MEF will find common place, as compared to the more expensive and less versatile traditional silica based supports.

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