ACS nano

Atomically precise arrays of fluorescent silver clusters: a modular approach for metal cluster photonics on DNA nanostructures.

PMID 25630562


The remarkable precision that DNA scaffolds provide for arraying nanoscale optical elements enables optical phenomena that arise from interactions of metal nanoparticles, dye molecules, and quantum dots placed at nanoscale separations. However, control of ensemble optical properties has been limited by the difficulty of achieving uniform particle sizes and shapes. Ligand-stabilized metal clusters offer a route to atomically precise arrays that combine desirable attributes of both metals and molecules. Exploiting the unique advantages of the cluster regime requires techniques to realize controlled nanoscale placement of select cluster structures. Here we show that atomically monodisperse arrays of fluorescent, DNA-stabilized silver clusters can be realized on a prototypical scaffold, a DNA nanotube, with attachment sites separated by <10 nm. Cluster attachment is mediated by designed DNA linkers that enable isolation of specific clusters prior to assembly on nanotubes and preserve cluster structure and spectral purity after assembly. The modularity of this approach generalizes to silver clusters of diverse sizes and DNA scaffolds of many types. Thus, these silver cluster nano-optical elements, which themselves have colors selected by their particular DNA templating oligomer, bring unique dimensions of control and flexibility to the rapidly expanding field of nano-optics.