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Giant Suppression of Photobleaching for Single Molecule Detection via the Purcell Effect

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journal contribution
posted on 11.12.2013, 00:00 by Hu Cang, Yongmin Liu, Yuan Wang, Xiaobo Yin, Xiang Zhang
We report giant suppression of photobleaching and a prolonged lifespan of single fluorescent molecules via the Purcell effect in plasmonic nanostructures. The plasmonic structures enhance the spontaneous emission of excited fluorescent molecules, reduce the probability of activating photochemical reactions that destroy the molecules, and hence suppress the bleaching. Experimentally, we observe up to a 1000-fold increase in the total number of photons that we can harvest from a single fluorescent molecule before it bleaches. This approach demonstrates the potential of using the Purcell effect to manipulate photochemical reactions at the subwavelength scale.