Intrinsic fluorescence from DNA can be enhanced by metallic particles

J. R. Lakowicz, B. Shen, Z. Gryczynski, S. D'Auria, I. Gryczynski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

193 Scopus citations


High sensitivity detection of DNA is essential for genomics. The intrinsic fluorescence from DNA is very weak and almost all methods for detecting DNA rely on the use of extrinsic fluorescent probes. We show that the intrinsic emission from DNA can be enhanced many-fold by spatial proximity to silver island films. Silver islands are subwavelength size patches of metallic silver on an inert substrate. Time-resolved measurements show a decreased lifetime for the intrinsic DNA emission near the silver islands. These results of increased intensity and decreased lifetime indicate a metal-induced increase in the radiative rate decay of the DNA bases. The possibility of increased radiative decay rates for DNA bases and other fluorophores suggest a wide variety of DNA measurements and other biomedical assays based on metal-induced increases in the fluorescence quantum yield of weakly fluorescent substances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)875-879
Number of pages5
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001


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