All-optical switching in dye-doped DNA nanofibers†
All-optical switches are introduced which are based on deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in the form of electrospun fibers, where DNA is semi-intercalated with a push–pull, luminescent nonlinear pyrazoline derivative. Optical birefringence is found in the organic nanofibers, with fully reversible switching controlled through continuous-wave laser irradiation. The photoinduced signal is remarkably large, with birefringence highlighted by optically-driven refractive index anisotropy approaching 0.001. Sub-millisecond characteristic switching times are found. Integrating dye-intercalated DNA complex systems in organic nanofibers, as a convenient and efficient approach to template molecular organization and control it by external stimuli, might open new routes for realizing optical logic gates, reconfigurable photonic networks and sensors through physically-transient biopolymer components.