Revealing the photophysics of gold-nanobeacons via time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy

Wei, Guoke and Simionesie, Dorin and Sefcik, Jan and Sutter, Jens U. and Xue, Qingjiang and Yu, Jun and Wang, Jinliang and Birch, David J.S. and Chen, Yu (2015) Revealing the photophysics of gold-nanobeacons via time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy. Optics Letters, 40 (24). 5738–5741. ISSN 0146-9592 (

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We demonstrate that time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy is a powerful tool to investigate the conformation states of hairpin DNA on the surface of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) and energy transfer processes in Au-nanobeacons. Long-range fluorescence quenching of Cy5 by AuNPs has been found to be in good agreement with electrodynamics modelling. Moreover, time-correlated single-photon counting (TCSPC) is shown to be promising for real-time monitoring of the hybridization kinetics of Au-nanobeacons, with up to 60% increase in decay time component and 300% increase in component fluorescence fraction observed. Our results also indicate the importance of the stem and spacer designs for the performance of Au-nanobeacons.