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Nat Mater. 2007 Apr;6(4):291-5. Epub 2007 Mar 25.

Exciton-plasmon interactions in molecular spring assemblies of nanowires and wavelength-based protein detection.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.


Electronic interactions at the nanoscale represent one of the fundamental problems of nanotechnology. Excitons and plasmons are the two most typical excited states of nanostructures, which have been shown to produce coupled electronic systems. Here, we explore these interactions for the case of nanowires with mobile excitons and nanoparticles with localized plasmons and describe the theoretical formalism, its experimental validation and the potential practical applications of such nanoscale systems. Theory predicts that emission of coupled excitations in nanowires with variable electronic confinement is stronger, shorter and blue-shifted. These predictions were confirmed with a high degree of accuracy in molecular spring assemblies of CdTe nanowires and Au nanoparticles, where we can reversibly change the distance between the exciton and the plasmon. The prepared systems were made protein-sensitive by incorporating antibodies in the molecular springs. Modulation of exciton-plasmon interactions can serve as a wavelength-based biodetection tool, which can resolve difficulties in the quantification of luminescence intensity for complex media and optical pathways.

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