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Open Access Publications from the University of California

DNA-Protected Silver Clusters for Nanophotonics.

  • Author(s): Gwinn, Elisabeth
  • Schultz, Danielle
  • Copp, Stacy M
  • Swasey, Steven
  • et al.

DNA-protected silver clusters (AgN-DNA) possess unique fluorescence properties that depend on the specific DNA template that stabilizes the cluster. They exhibit peak emission wavelengths that range across the visible and near-IR spectrum. This wide color palette, combined with low toxicity, high fluorescence quantum yields of some clusters, low synthesis costs, small cluster sizes and compatibility with DNA are enabling many applications that employ AgN-DNA. Here we review what is known about the underlying composition and structure of AgN-DNA, and how these relate to the optical properties of these fascinating, hybrid biomolecule-metal cluster nanomaterials. We place AgN-DNA in the general context of ligand-stabilized metal clusters and compare their properties to those of other noble metal clusters stabilized by small molecule ligands. The methods used to isolate pure AgN-DNA for analysis of composition and for studies of solution and single-emitter optical properties are discussed. We give a brief overview of structurally sensitive chiroptical studies, both theoretical and experimental, and review experiments on bringing silver clusters of distinct size and color into nanoscale DNA assemblies. Progress towards using DNA scaffolds to assemble multi-cluster arrays is also reviewed.

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