Hybrid Lithographic and DNA-Directed Assembly of a Configurable Plasmonic Metamaterial That Exhibits Electromagnetically Induced Transparency

David B. Litt, Matthew R. Jones, Mario Hentschel, Ying Wang, Sui Yang, Hyun Dong Ha, Xiang Zhang, A. Paul Alivisatos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Metamaterials are architectures that interact with light in novel ways by virtue of symmetry manipulation, and have opened a window into studying unprecedented light-matter interactions. However, they are commonly fabricated via lithographic methods, are usually static structures, and are limited in how they can react to external stimuli. Here we show that by combining lithographic techniques with DNA-based self-assembly methods, we can construct responsive plasmonic metamaterials that exhibit the plasmonic analog of an effect known as electromagnetically induced transparency (EIT), which can dramatically change their spectra upon motion of their constituent parts. Correlative scanning electron microscopy measurements, scattering dark-field microscopy, and computational simulations are performed on single assemblies to determine the relationship between their structures and spectral responses to a variety of external stimuli. The strength of the EIT-like effect in these assemblies can be tuned by precisely controlling the positioning of the plasmonic nanoparticles in these structures. For example, changing the ionic environment or dehydrating the sample will change the conformation of the DNA linkers and therefore the distance between the nanoparticles. Dark-field spectra of individual assemblies show peak shifts of up to many tens of nanometers upon DNA perturbations. This dynamic metamaterial represents a stepping stone toward state-of-the-art plasmonic sensing platforms and next-generation dynamic metamaterials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)859-864
Number of pages6
JournalNano Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 14 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA
  • Metamaterials
  • electromagnetically induced transparency
  • nanoparticles
  • plasmonics
  • self-assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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