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Smart Nanoplasmonics for Chemistry and Biology

Final Report Summary - SNCB (Smart Nanoplasmonics for Chemistry and Biology)

As two metal nanoparticles are brought into proximity, the plasmonic charge oscillations couple to each other, resulting in altered optical and electronic behavior that is highly distance dependent. This coupling effect has a great impact in assembling metal particle assemblies with new capabilities. This arises from the fact that the plasmon resonance of a metal nanoparticle is also affected by other nanoparticles that are present in its immediate environment. This property brought about the concept of one-dimensional plasmon rulers, i.e. pairs of nanoparticles to optically detect nanoscale distance changes and to monitor dynamic changes induced by chemical or biological processes.

DNA has proven to be one of the most versatile and robust building blocks for construction of complex three-dimensional architectures with high fidelity. In this project, we lay out a multi-disciplinary strategy to create reconfigurable 3D plasmonic metamolecules, which execute DNA-regulated conformational changes on the nanoscale. In one role, DNA serves as construction material to organize plasmonic nanoparticles in 3D. In the other role, DNA is used as fuel for driving the metamolecules to distinct conformational states. Simultaneously, the 3D plasmonic metamolecules can work as optical reporters, which transduce their conformational changes in situ into circular dichroism (CD) changes in the visible wavelength range.
This research project involves completely innovative concepts that will draw great significance in bioscience and chemistry. The goal is to utilize nanophotonics in combination with physical understanding to solve intriguing problems in biochemistry that were hard to interpret and investigate before. This research project provides a significant opportunity for me to engage with other pioneering scientists in the field, which helps me gain ideas and motivation for furthering my research career. The accomplishment of this research project will be an invaluable asset to my career as an expert in the field of nanophotonics and biochemistry.