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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 670412, 12 pages
Research Article

Metal-Enhanced Fluorescence of Chlorophylls in Light-Harvesting Complexes Coupled to Silver Nanowires

1Optics of Hybrid Nanostructures Group, Institute of Physics, Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Informatics, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Grudziadzka 5, 87-100 Torun, Poland
2Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, Ruhr-University Bochum, D-44780 Bochum, Germany

Received 16 December 2012; Accepted 13 January 2013

Academic Editors: R. Pode, P. D. Sahare, and D. Zhang

Copyright © 2013 Dorota Kowalska et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We investigate metal-enhanced fluorescence of peridinin-chlorophyll protein coupled to silver nanowires using optical microscopy combined with spectrally and time-resolved fluorescence techniques. In particular we study two different sample geometries: first, in which the light-harvesting complexes are deposited onto silver nanowires, and second, where solution of both nanostructures are mixed prior deposition on a substrate. The results indicate that for the peridinin-chlorophyll complexes placed in the vicinity of the silver nanowires we observe higher intensities of fluorescence emission as compared to the reference sample, where no nanowires are present. Enhancement factors estimated for the sample where the light-harvesting complexes are mixed together with the silver nanowires prior deposition on a substrate are generally larger in comparison to the other geometry of a hybrid nanostructure. While fluorescence spectra are identical both in terms of overall shape and maximum wavelength for peridinin-chlorophyll-protein complexes both isolated and coupled to metallic nanostructures, we conclude that interaction with plasmon excitations in the latter remains neutral to the functionality of the biological system. Fluorescence transients measured for the PCP complexes coupled to the silver nanowires indicate shortening of the fluorescence lifetime pointing towards modifications of radiative rate due to plasmonic interactions. Our results can be applied for developing ways to plasmonically control the light-harvesting capability of photosynthetic complexes.