Nanophotonic enhancement of the Förster resonance energy transfer rate on single DNA molecules
See our new preprint released on ArXiv 1403.2222: Nanophotonic enhancement of the Förster resonance energy transfer rate on single DNA molecules
Nanophotonics achieves accurate control over the luminescence properties of a single quantum emitter by tailoring the light-matter interaction at the nanoscale and modifying the local density of optical states (LDOS). This paradigm could also benefit to Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) by enhancing the near-field electromagnetic interaction between two fluorescent emitters. Despite the wide applications of FRET in nanosciences, using nanophotonics to enhance FRET remains a debated and complex challenge. Here, we demonstrate enhanced energy transfer within single donor-acceptor fluorophore pairs confined in gold nanoapertures. Experiments monitoring both the donor and the acceptor emission photodynamics at the single molecule level clearly establish a linear dependence of the FRET rate on the LDOS in nanoapertures. These findings are applied to enhance the FRET rate in nanoapertures up to six times, demonstrating that nanophotonics can be used to intensify the near-field energy transfer and improve the biophotonic applications of FRET.