Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis open access



First Advisor

Jennifer M. Steele

Second Advisor

Dennis Ugolini


Our lab seeks to enhance the Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) efficiency using surface plasmons excited on gold nanogratings. Surface plasmons are longitudinal oscillations of conduction electrons that travel along a metal surface. FRET is the transfer of energy between a donor and an acceptor fluorescent molecule, the efficiency of which is strongly dependent on the distance between the donor and acceptor molecules. Additionally, we suspect the surface plasmon enhancement effectiveness depends on the distance between the donor and acceptor and the grating surface. To precisely position the donor and acceptor molecules relative to each other and the gold nanograting, we developed a protocol to use double-stranded DNA as scaffolding. In this work we describe fabrication methods for gold nanogratings, effective methods for the deposition of DNA onto gold nanogratings using a thiol attachment, and the attachment of DNA to a silanized glass slide for use as a background sample. For test runs the donor is placed at various positions along the DNA backbone for the precise positioning relative to the nanograting post deposition. We then place the samples in a homemade apparatus designed for detecting fluorescence enhancement.