Spectroscopic and Hydrodynamic Characterisation of DNA-Linked Gold Nanoparticle Dimers in Solution using Two-Photon Photoluminescence

Johanna Midelet, Afaf H. El-Sagheer, Tom Brown, Antonios G. Kanaras, Anne Débarre, Martinus H. V. Werts. ChemPhysChem 19 (7), 827-836, 2018.


Two-photon photoluminescence (TPPL) emission spectra of DNA–gold nanoparticle (AuNP) monoconjugates and the corresponding DNA-linked AuNP dimers are obtained by photon time-of-flight spectroscopy. This technique is combined with two-photon photoluminescence fluctuation correlation spectroscopy (TPPL–FCS) to simultaneously monitor the optical and hydrodynamic behaviour of these nano-assemblies in solution, with single-particle sensitivity and microsecond temporal resolution. In this study, the AuNPs have an average core diameter of 12?nm, which renders their dark-field plasmonic light scattering too weak for single-particle imaging. Moreover, as a result of the lack of plasmonic coupling in the dimers, the optical extinction, scattering and photoluminescence spectra of the DNA–AuNP complexes are not sufficiently different to distinguish between monomers and dimers. The use of TPPL–FCS successfully addresses these bottlenecks and enables the distinction between AuNP monomers and AuNP dimers in solution by measurement of their hydrodynamic rotational and translational diffusion.