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First Step Towards Larger DNA-Based Assemblies of Fluorescent Silver Nanoclusters: Template Design and Detailed Characterization of Optical Properties

Department of Physics, University of Nebraska Omaha, Omaha, NE 68182, USA
Nanoimaging Core Facility at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198, USA
Nanoscale Science Program, Department of Chemistry, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC 28223, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(4), 613;
Received: 19 March 2019 / Revised: 7 April 2019 / Accepted: 12 April 2019 / Published: 13 April 2019
PDF [2278 KB, uploaded 13 April 2019]


Besides being a passive carrier of genetic information, DNA can also serve as an architecture template for the synthesis of novel fluorescent nanomaterials that are arranged in a highly organized network of functional entities such as fluorescent silver nanoclusters (AgNCs). Only a few atoms in size, the properties of AgNCs can be tuned using a variety of templating DNA sequences, overhangs, and neighboring duplex regions. In this study, we explore the properties of AgNCs manufactured on a short DNA sequence—an individual element designed for a construction of a larger DNA-based functional assembly. The effects of close proximity of the double-stranded DNA, the directionality of templating single-stranded sequence, and conformational heterogeneity of the template are presented. We observe differences between designs containing the same AgNC templating sequence—twelve consecutive cytosines, (dC)12. AgNCs synthesized on a single “basic” templating element, (dC)12, emit in “red”. The addition of double-stranded DNA core, required for the larger assemblies, changes optical properties of the silver nanoclusters by adding a new population of clusters emitting in “green”. A new population of “blue” emitting clusters forms only when ssDNA templating sequence is placed on the 5′ end of the double-stranded core. We also compare properties of silver nanoclusters, which were incorporated into a dimeric structure—a first step towards a larger assembly. View Full-Text
Keywords: silver nanoclusters; fluorescence; i-motif DNA; cytosine rich sequences silver nanoclusters; fluorescence; i-motif DNA; cytosine rich sequences

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Yourston, L.E.; Lushnikov, A.Y.; Shevchenko, O.A.; Afonin, K.A.; Krasnoslobodtsev, A.V. First Step Towards Larger DNA-Based Assemblies of Fluorescent Silver Nanoclusters: Template Design and Detailed Characterization of Optical Properties. Nanomaterials 2019, 9, 613.

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