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J Phys Chem C Nanomater Interfaces. 2011;115(41):20105-20112. Epub 2011 Sep 1.

Wavelength Dependence of the Fluorescence Quenching Efficiency of Nearby Dyes by Gold Nanoclusters and Nanoparticles: The Roles of Spectral Overlap and Particle Size.

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Department of Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University, 4400 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.


The efficiency of the glutathione monolayer-protected gold nanocluster (NC) Au(25) (1.2 nm metal core diameter (d)) in quenching the emission of dyes intercalated into DNA is compared to that of 2 and 4 nm gold nanoparticles (NPs). In all cases, the DNA/dye moieties and the gold particles are not covalently attached but rather form non-covalent ground state complexes. Under these conditions, steady-state measurements reveal that the quenching efficiency of Au(25) is a factor of 10 lower than that of plasmonic 4 nm gold NPs but comparable to that of 2 nm particles which do not show a distinct plasmon band. Nonetheless, significant emission quenching is observed even at very low (nM) concentrations of Au(25). The quenching efficiency of the 4 nm NPs is significantly higher for dyes emitting near the wavelength of the plasmon peak whereas that of the 2 nm gold NPs is well described by the nano-surface energy transfer (NSET) model proposed by the Strouse group (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 127, 3115 2005). Interestingly, for Au(25) the maximum quenching efficiency occurs for dyes emitting in the same wavelength range as that of the 2 and 4 nm NPs (490-560 nm), where it shows no discrete absorption features, rather than for wavelengths coincident with its HOMO-LUMO, intra-band or inter-band transitions. The fluorescence quenching properties of Au(25) NCs are therefore found to be distinct from those of larger NCs and NPs but do not appear to conform to theoretical predictions advanced thus far.

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