Nano-patterned photoactive surfaces
Molecular assemblies capable of harvesting light and using the absorbed energy have attracted great interest in recent years because of their applicability in such domains as light emitting diodes, fluorescent labelling of biological molecules, and photonic devices. Nature has also developed in plants and photosynthetic bacteria several examples of photonic nanostructures which guide light over small distances and harvest light energy, using resonance energy transfer (RET). For some time, researchers have tried to mimic the spatial arrangements of high energy transfer efficiency found in Nature.
Recent progress in the application, creation and manipulation of individual or small groups of molecules are opening new perspectives for further developments in this field. These recent advances are commonly considered to lie at the root of what is being called "Nanotechnology". Although the definitions of nanotechnology are diverse, it is commonly admitted that this new domain of Science draws ideas and concepts from disciplines including engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and computer science. The central dogma of the “bottom up” version of nanotechnology is the notion of self-assembly, which is the spontaneous assembly of materials into predetermined ordered structures or complexes.
Presented here is an example from a field of nanotechnology that utilizes self-assembly onto nano-patterned surfaces to generate nano-structured systems and devices. More precisely, in the present case we target photo-active devices based on Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET), taking inspiration from photosynthetic light harvesting systems, where concentric nanometric rings of chromophores funnel light energy to a reaction center. Here, we synthesize nano-patterned chromophore surfaces which are able to collect light energy over a large surface and funnel it in regions of ~100 nm size. Our results indicate that an efficient collection and transfer of light energy can be performed by properly nano-designed surfaces, which may have practical consequences for the fabrication of light-powered active nano-devices.
School:Université catholique de Louvain
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:nano patterned surfaces fluorescence resonance energy transfer fret
Date of Publication:12/13/2006