Enhanced-Fluorescence of a Dye on DNA- assembled Gold Nano-Dimers Discriminated by Lifetime Correlation Spectroscopy

We have employed DNA-directed assembly to prepare dimers of gold nanoparticles and used their longitudinally coupled plasmon mode to enhance the fluorescence emission of an organic red-emitting dye, Atto-655. The plasmon- enhanced fluorescence of this dye using dimers of 80 nm particles was measured at single molecule detection level. The top enhancement factors were above 1000-fold in 71% of the dimers within a total of 32 dimers measured, and, in some cases, they reached almost 4000-fold, in good agreement with model simulations. Additionally, fluorescence lifetime correlation analysis enabled the separation of enhanced from non-enhanced emission simultaneously collected in our confocal detection volume. This approach allowed us to recover a short relaxation component exclusive to enhanced emission that is attributed to the interaction of the dye with DNA in the interparticle gaps.