Pushing the photon limit: nanoantennas increase maximal photon stream and total photon number

Wientjes, E., Renger, J., Cogdell, R. and van Hulst, N. F. (2016) Pushing the photon limit: nanoantennas increase maximal photon stream and total photon number. Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 7(9), pp. 1604-1609. (doi: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.6b00491) (PMID:27082249) (PMCID:PMC4864408)

118532.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.



Nanoantennas are well-known for their effective role in fluorescence enhancement, both in excitation and emission. Enhancements of 3–4 orders of magnitude have been reported. Yet in practice, the photon emission is limited by saturation due to the time that a molecule spends in singlet and especially triplet excited states. The maximal photon stream restricts the attainable enhancement. Furthermore, the total number of photons emitted is limited by photobleaching. The limited brightness and observation time are a drawback for applications, especially in biology. Here we challenge this photon limit, showing that nanoantennas can actually increase both saturation intensity and photostability. So far, this limit-shifting role of nanoantennas has hardly been explored. Specifically, we demonstrate that single light-harvesting complexes, under saturating excitation conditions, show over a 50-fold antenna-enhanced photon emission stream, with 10-fold more total photons, up to 108 detected photons, before photobleaching. This work shows yet another facet of the great potential of nanoantennas in the world of single-molecule biology.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research was funded by the European Commission (ERC Adv. Grant 247330- NanoAntennas and ERC Adv. Grant 670949-LightNet), Spanish MINECO (Project FIS2012-35527 co-funded by FEDER; Network FIS2014-55563-REDC and Severo Ochoa Programme for Centres of Excellence in R&D SEV-2015-0522), the Catalan AGAUR (2014 SGR01540) and Fundació CELLEX (Barcelona). R.C. thanks the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) for financial support. E.W. acknowledges financial support from the Marie-Curie International Fellowship COFUND and ICFOnest program, and from an individual Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowship 655542.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cogdell, Professor Richard
Authors: Wientjes, E., Renger, J., Cogdell, R., and van Hulst, N. F.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology
Journal Name:Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Publisher:American Chemical Society
ISSN (Online):1948-7185
Published Online:15 April 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 American Chemical Society
First Published:First published in Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 7(9):1604-1609
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record

Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
598991Dissecting the function of the LH2 pucBA multigene family in Rhodospeudomonas palustrisRichard CogdellBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/K000179/1RI MOLECULAR CELL & SYSTEMS BIOLOGY