Transparent plasmonic nanocontainers protect organic fluorophores against photobleaching.

Nano letters

PubMedID: 21488657

Zaiba S, Lerouge F, Gabudean AM, Focsan M, Lermé J, Gallavardin T, Maury O, Andraud C, Parola S, Baldeck PL. Transparent plasmonic nanocontainers protect organic fluorophores against photobleaching. Nano Lett. 2011;11(5):2043-7.
Numerous research efforts are investigating the possibility of using light interactions with metallic nanoparticles to improve the fluorescence properties of nearby molecules. Few investigations have considered the encapsulation of molecules in metallic nanocavities. In this paper, we present the optical properties of new hybrid nanoparticles consisting of gold nanoshells and fluorescent organic dyes in their liquid cores. Microspectroscopy on single nanoparticle demonstrates that the extinction spectra are in good agreement with Mie's theory. Finite difference time domain (FDTD) calculations reveal that excitation and emission radiations are efficiently transmitted through the thin gold nanoshells. Thus, they can be considered as transparent plasmonic nanocontainers for photoactive cores. In agreement with FDTD calculations, measurements show that fluorophores encapsulated in gold nanoshells keep their brightness, but they show fluorescence lifetimes 1 order of magnitude shorter. As a salient consequence, the photoresistance of encapsulated organic dyes is also improved by an order of magnitude. This unusual ultraviolet photoresistance results from the reduced probability of triplet-singlet conversion that eventually exposes dyes to singlet oxygen photodegradation.