Long- and short-ranged chiral interactions in DNA-assembled plasmonic chains

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Circular dichroism (CD) has long been used to trace chiral molecular states and changes of protein configurations. In recent years, chiral plasmonic nanostructures have shown potential for applications ranging from pathogen sensing to novel optical materials. The plasmonic coupling of the individual elements of such metallic structures is a crucial prerequisite to obtain sizeable CD signals. We here identify and implement various coupling entities—chiral and achiral—to demonstrate chiral transfer over distances close to 100 nm. The coupling is realized by an achiral nanosphere situated between a pair of gold nanorods that are arranged far apart but in a chiral fashion using DNA origami. The transmitter particle causes a strong enhancement of the CD response, the emergence of an additional chiral feature at the resonance frequency of the nanosphere, and a redshift of the longitudinal plasmonic resonance frequency of the nanorods. Matching numerical simulations elucidate the intricate chiral optical fields in complex architectures.