Biomolecular plasmonics for quantitative biology and nanomedicine

Somin Eunice Lee, Luke P. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Free electrons in a noble metal nanoparticle can be resonantly excited, leading to their collective oscillation termed as a surface plasmon. These surface plasmons enable nanoparticles to absorb light, generate heat, transfer energy, and re-radiate incident photons. Creative designs of nanoplasmonic optical antennae (i.e. plasmon resonant nanoparticles) have become a new foundation of quantitative biology and nanomedicine. This review focuses on the recent developments in dual-functional nanoplasmonic optical antennae for label-free biosensors and nanoplasmonic gene switches. Nanoplasmonic optical antennae, functioning as biosensors to significantly enhance biochemical-specific spectral information via plasmon resonance energy transfer (PRET) and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), are discussed. Nanoplasmonic optical antennae, functioning as nanoplasmonic gene switches to enable spatiotemporal regulation of genetic activity, are also reviewed. Nanoplasmonic molecular rulers and integrated photoacoustic-photothermal contrast agents are also described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-497
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Biotechnology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank all current and previous BioPOETS for their invaluable scientific contribution to projects discussed in this review. The authors acknowledge the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Nanomedicine Development Center for the Optical Control of Biological Function ( PN2 EY018241 ) for financial support, the Siebel Foundation for graduate support of S.E. Lee (Siebel Scholarship, Class of 2010), and the Center for Nanostructured Materials and Technology (CNMT) of the Korea government.


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