Metal-Enhanced Fluorescence of Chlorophylls in Single Light-Harvesting Complexes
Sebastian Mackowski, Stephan Wörmke, Andreas J. Maier, Tatas H. P. Brotosudarmo, Hayk Harutyunyan, Achim Hartschuh, Alexander O. Govorov, Hugo Scheer, Christoph Bräuchle
Ensemble and single-molecule spectroscopy demonstrates that both emission and absorption of peridinin-chlorophyll-protein photosynthetic antennae can be largely enhanced through plasmonic interactions. We find up to 18-fold increase of the chlorophyll fluorescence for complexes placed near a silver metal layer. This enhancement, which leaves no measurable effects on the protein structure, is observed when exciting either chlorophyll or carotenoid and is attributed predominantly to an increase of the excitation rate in the antenna. The enhancement mechanism comes from plasmon-induced amplification of electromagnetic fields inside the complex. This result is an important step toward applying plasmonic nanostructures for controlling the optical response of complex biomolecules and improving the design and functioning of artificial light-harvesting systems.