A synthetic biological quantum optical system†
In strong plasmon–exciton coupling, a surface plasmon mode is coupled to an array of localized emitters to yield new hybrid light–matter states (plexcitons), whose properties may in principle be controlled via modification of the arrangement of emitters. We show that plasmon modes are strongly coupled to synthetic light-harvesting maquette proteins, and that the coupling can be controlled via alteration of the protein structure. For maquettes with a single chlorin binding site, the exciton energy (2.06 ± 0.07 eV) is close to the expected energy of the Qy transition. However, for maquettes containing two chlorin binding sites that are collinear in the field direction, an exciton energy of 2.20 ± 0.01 eV is obtained, intermediate between the energies of the Qx and Qy transitions of the chlorin. This observation is attributed to strong coupling of the LSPR to an H-dimer state not observed under weak coupling.
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