Silver nanoparticle aggregates as highly efficient plasmonic antennas for fluorescence enhancement

R. Gill, L. Tian, W.R.C. Somerville, E.C. Le Ru, H. van Amerongen, V. Subramaniam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


The enhanced local fields around plasmonic structures can lead to enhancement of the excitation and modification of the emission quantum yield of fluorophores. So far, high enhancement of fluorescence intensity from dye molecules was demonstrated using bow-tie gap antenna made by e-beam lithography. However, the high manufacturing cost and the fact that currently there are no effective ways to place fluorophores only at the gap prevent the use of these structures for enhancing fluorescence-based biochemical assays. We report on the simultaneous modification of fluorescence intensity and lifetime of dye-labeled DNA in the presence of aggregated silver nanoparticles. The nanoparticle aggregates act as efficient plasmonic antennas, leading to more than 2 orders of magnitude enhancement of the average fluorescence. This is comparable to the best-reported fluorescence enhancement for a single molecule but here applies to the average signal detected from all fluorophores in the system. This highlights the remarkable efficiency of this system for surface-enhanced fluorescence. Moreover, we show that the fluorescence intensity enhancement varies with the plasmon resonance position and measure a significant reduction (300×) of the fluorescence lifetime. Both observations are shown to be in agreement with the electromagnetic model of surface-enhanced fluorescence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16687-16693
JournalThe Journal of Physical Chemistry Part C: Nanomaterials and Interfaces
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • raman-scattering sers
  • field enhancement
  • optical antennas
  • hot-spots
  • surface
  • spectroscopy
  • molecule
  • nanoantennas
  • nanoshells
  • decay


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