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Proceedings of SPIE--the International Society for Optical Engineering

The use of aluminum nanostructures as platforms for metal enhanced fluorescence of the intrinsic emission of biomolecules in the ultra-violet.


PMID 20706552

Abstract

We consider the possibility of using aluminum nanostructures for enhancing the intrinsic emission of biomolecules. We used the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method to calculate the effects of aluminum nanoparticles on nearby fluorophores that emit in the ultra-violet (UV). We find that the radiated power of UV fluorophores is significantly increased when they are in close proximity to aluminum nanostructures. We show that there will be increased localized excitation near aluminum particles at wavelengths used to excite intrinsic biomolecule emission. We also examine the effect of excited-state fluorophores on the near-field around the nanoparticles. Finally we present experimental evidence showing that a thin film of amino acids and nucleotides display enhanced emission when in close proximity to aluminum nanostructured surfaces. Our results suggest that biomolecules can be detected and identified using aluminum nanostructures that enhance their intrinsic emission. We hope this study will ignite interest in the broader scientific community to take advantage of the plasmonic properties of aluminum and the potential benefits of its interaction with biomolecules to generate momentum towards implementing fluorescence-based bioassays using their intrinsic emission.

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