Large Davydov Splitting and Strong Fluorescence Suppression: An Investigation of Exciton Delocalization in DNA-Templated Holliday Junction Dye Aggregates

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Exciton delocalization in dye aggregate systems is a phenomenon that is revealed by spectral features, such as Davydov splitting, J- and H-aggregate behavior, and fluorescence suppression. Using DNA as an architectural template to assemble dye aggregates enables specific control of the aggregate size and dye type, proximal and precise positioning of the dyes within the aggregates, and a method for constructing large, modular two- and three-dimensional arrays. Here, we report on dye aggregates, organized via an immobile Holliday junction DNA template, that exhibit large Davydov splitting of the absorbance spectrum (125 nm, 397.5 meV), J- and H-aggregate behavior, and near-complete suppression of the fluorescence emission (∼97.6% suppression). Because of the unique optical properties of the aggregates, we have demonstrated that our dye aggregate system is a viable candidate as a sensitive absorbance and fluorescence optical reporter. DNA-templated aggregates exhibiting exciton delocalization may find application in optical detection and imaging, light-harvesting, photovoltaics, optical information processing, and quantum computing.


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