April 23, 2015
The silver used by Beth Gwinn’s research group at UC Santa Barbara has value far beyond its worth as a commodity, even though it’s used in very small amounts. The group works with the precious metal to create nanoscale silver clusters with unique fluorescent properties. These properties are important for a variety of sensing applications including biomedical imaging.
The team’s latest research is published in a featured article in this month’s issue of ACS Nano ("Atomically Precise Arrays of Fluorescent Silver Clusters: A Modular Approach for Metal Cluster Photonics on DNA Nanostructures"). The scientists positioned silver clusters at programmed sites on a nanoscale breadboard, a construction base for prototyping of photonics and electronics. “Our ‘breadboard’ is a DNA nanotube with spaces programmed 7 nanometers apart,” said lead author Stacy Copp, a graduate student in UCSB’s Department of Physics.