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ORCA Report Summary

Project ID: 336440
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Germany

Mid-Term Report Summary - ORCA (Optical Responses Controlled by DNA Assembly)

The goal of this project is the exploration of DNA-assembly for the construction of materials with tailored photonic functionality and the establishment of novel sensor techniques based on chiral and non-chiral plasmonic assemblies. DNA-controlled fabrication of functional components involved optically active nanosystems such as metallic nanoparticles and nanorods as well as their combination into complex structures and their stringent characterization. The reliable conjugation of nanoparticles and nanorods to DNA-origami structures has been established successfully in various layouts. Plasmonic particle groups self-assembled into defined geometries resulting in switchable chiral metamaterials and metafluids with tailored optical responses that arise from collective plasmon interactions. Next to bulk experiments, where the photophysical properties of multiple self-assembled particle groups are studied in parallel, we also recorded and interpreted spectra of individual DNA-origami particle rings.
In our efforts to build new sensing devices we took advantage of the hybridization-mediated switchability of our chiral particle assemblies and achieved sub-nanomolar sensitivity for specific RNA sequences in human blood serum. We further investigated the interaction of chiral molecules with non-chiral plasmonic particle pairs. We observed strong circular dichroism at plasmonic frequencies of DNA molecules situated inside the hot spots that are generated between metallic nanoparticles in close proximity.

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