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Opt Express. 2005 Sep 5;13(18):7035-44.

Single molecule fluorescence in rectangular nano-apertures.


Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy is used to investigate fluorescent molecules in solution diffusing in subwavelength rectangular apertures milled in Aluminium films. This rectangular shape allows to switch between a propagating and an evanescent excitation field within the aperture, leading to a significant tunability of the observation volume. Due to the vicinity of the metal surface, the fluorophore's molecular lifetime inside the aperture appears to be dramatically reduced whatever the excitation field is set to. However, for a properly tailored evanescent excitation field within the nanoaperture, the detected fluorescence rate per molecule is significantly enhanced as compared to open solution. This suggests that the observed molecular fluorescence enhancement is mainly due to the excitation near field within the subwavelength aperture.

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