Indexed on: 07 Jul '14Published on: 07 Jul '14Published in: Nature materials
A reconfigurable plasmonic nanosystem combines an active plasmonic structure with a regulated physical or chemical control input. There have been considerable efforts on integration of plasmonic nanostructures with active platforms using top-down techniques. The active media include phase-transition materials, graphene, liquid crystals and carrier-modulated semiconductors, which can respond to thermal, electrical and optical stimuli. However, these plasmonic nanostructures are often restricted to two-dimensional substrates, showing desired optical response only along specific excitation directions. Alternatively, bottom-up techniques offer a new pathway to impart reconfigurability and functionality to passive systems. In particular, DNA has proven to be one of the most versatile and robust building blocks for construction of complex three-dimensional architectures with high fidelity. Here we show the creation of reconfigurable three-dimensional plasmonic metamolecules, which execute DNA-regulated conformational changes at the nanoscale. DNA serves as both a construction material to organize plasmonic nanoparticles in three dimensions, as well as fuel for driving the metamolecules to distinct conformational states. Simultaneously, the three-dimensional plasmonic metamolecules can work as optical reporters, which transduce their conformational changes in situ into circular dichroism changes in the visible wavelength range.