Directional Photonic Wire Mediated by Homo-Förster Resonance Energy Transfer on a DNA Origami Platform

Francesca Nicoli, Anders Barth, Wooli Bae, Fabian Neukirchinger, Alvaro H. Crevenna, Don C. Lamb, Tim Liedl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Elaborating efficient strategies and deepening the understanding of light transport at the nanoscale is of great importance for future designs of artificial light-harvesting assemblies and dye-based photonic circuits. In this work, we focus on studying the phenomenon of Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) among fluorophores of the same kind (homo-FRET) and its implications for energy cascades containing two or three different dye molecules. Utilizing the spatial programmability of DNA origami, we arranged a chain of cyanine 3 (Cy3) dyes flanked at one end with a dye of lower excitation energy, cyanine 5 (Cy5), with or without an additional dye of higher excitation energy, Alexa488, at the other end. We characterized the response of our fluorophore assemblies with bulk and single-molecule spectroscopy and support our measurements by Monte Carlo modeling of energy transfer within the system. We find that, depending on the arrangement of the fluorophores, homo-FRET between the Cy3 dyes can lead to an overall enhanced energy transfer to the acceptor fluorophore. Furthermore, we systematically analyzed the homo-FRET system by addressing the fluorescence lifetime and anisotropy. Finally, we built a homo-FRET-mediated photonic wire capable of transferring energy through the homo-FRET system from the blue donor dye (Alexa488) to the red acceptor fluorophore (Cy5) across a total distance of 16 nm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11264-11272
Number of pages9
JournalACS Nano
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2017


  • artificial light harvesting
  • DNA origami
  • energy transfer
  • homo-FRET
  • photonic wires
  • single-molecule FRET

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