Silica nanoparticle architecture determines radiative properties of encapsulated fluorophores

Daniel R. Larson, Hooisweng Ow, Harshad D. Vishwasrao, Ahmed A. Heikal, Ulrich Wiesner, Watt W. Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

193 Scopus citations

Abstract

Silica nanoparticles with embedded fluorescent molecules are used in a variety of applications requiring the observation of single nanoprobes. We describe a class of fluorescent, core-shell silica nanoparticles with a radius of ∼15 nm, narrow particle size distribution, and controlled internal architecture. Particles covalently encapsulating multiple rhodamine molecules are over 20 times brighter than the single dye molecule in water. The photophysical behavior of rhodamine can be manipulated by small changes in the internal architecture of particles with otherwise similar composition, leading to 3-fold enhancement of quantum efficiency per dye with no observable energy transfer between neighboring dyes. This enhancement of quantum efficiency per dye is due to a uniform 2-fold enhancement in radiative rate and a variable reduction in nonradiative rate which varies inversely with the degree of rotational mobility of the dye allowed by the particle architecture. These results demonstrate a practical method for synthesizing highly fluorescent silica nanoparticles and an effective methodology for selectively modifying the photophysical properties of fluorophores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2677-2684
Number of pages8
JournalChemistry of Materials
Volume20
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 22 2008

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