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Molecular Motor Propelled Filaments Reveal Light-Guiding in Nanowire Arrays for Enhanced Biosensing

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posted on 17.12.2015, 00:36 authored by Lasse ten Siethoff, Mercy Lard, Johanna Generosi, Håkan S. Andersson, Heiner Linke, Alf Månsson
Semiconductor nanowire arrays offer significant potential for biosensing applications with optical read-out due to their high surface area and due to the unique optical properties of one-dimensional materials. A challenge for optical read-out of analyte-binding to the nanowires is the need to efficiently collect and detect light from a three-dimensional volume. Here we show that light from fluorophores attached along several μm long vertical Al2O3 coated gallium phosphide nanowires couples into the wires, is guided along them and emitted at the tip. This enables effective collection of light emitted by fluorescent analytes located at different focal planes along the nanowire. We unequivocally demonstrate the light-guiding effect using a novel method whereby the changes in emitted fluorescence intensity are observed when fluorescent cytoskeletal filaments are propelled by molecular motors along the wires. The findings are discussed in relation to nanobiosensor developments, other nanotechnological applications, and fundamental studies of motor function.