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Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics


  • Editor: Gregory W. Faris
  • Vol. 2, Iss. 10 — Oct. 31, 2007

Fluorescence near metal tips: The roles of energy transfer and surface plasmon polaritons

Nader A. Issa and Reinhard Guckenberger  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 15, Issue 19, pp. 12131-12144 (2007)

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We simulate the remarkable changes that occur to the decay rates of a fluorescent molecule as a conical metal tip approaches. A new and simple model is developed to reveal and quantify which decay channels are responsible. Our analysis, which is independent of the method of molecular excitation, shows some universal characteristics. As the tip-apex enters the molecule’s near-field, the creation of surface plasmon polaritons can become extraordinarily efficient, leading to an increase in the nonradiative rate and, by proportional radiative-damping, in the radiative rate. Enhancements reaching 3 orders of magnitude have been found, which can improve the apparent brightness of a molecule. At distances less than ~5nm, short-ranged energy transfer to the nano-scale apex quickly becomes dominant and is entirely nonradiative.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(170.2520) Medical optics and biotechnology : Fluorescence microscopy
(180.5810) Microscopy : Scanning microscopy
(240.0240) Optics at surfaces : Optics at surfaces
(240.6680) Optics at surfaces : Surface plasmons
(260.2510) Physical optics : Fluorescence
(260.3910) Physical optics : Metal optics

ToC Category:
Optics at Surfaces

Original Manuscript: July 6, 2007
Revised Manuscript: August 12, 2007
Manuscript Accepted: August 12, 2007
Published: September 10, 2007

Virtual Issues
Vol. 2, Iss. 10 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Nader A. Issa and Reinhard Guckenberger, "Fluorescence near metal tips: The roles of energy transfer and surface plasmon polaritons," Opt. Express 15, 12131-12144 (2007)

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