Silver nanoclusters inside synthetic DNA create tunable fluorescent array

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.

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