Direct Visualization of Dye and Oligonucleotide Diffusion in Silica Filaments with Collinear Mesopores
The diffusion dynamics of terrylene diimide (TDI) dye molecules and dye-labeled double-strand DNA were studied in micrometer long silica filaments containing collinear, oriented mesopores using single molecule fluorescence microscopy. TDI was used as a stable and hydrophobic probe molecule for single molecule structural analysis. We used template-free mesoporous silica filaments with 4 nm pore diameter and chemical functionalization with one or two types of trialkoxysilane groups to enhance the affinity between the host system and the guest molecules. Insights about the mesoporous structure as well as the translational and orientational diffusion dynamics of the guest molecules observed along micrometer long trajectories could be obtained. Additionally, the stability of DNA oligomers (15 base pairs, bp, about 5.3 nm long) within the mesopores was examined, showing no degradation of the oligonucleotide upon incorporation into the mesopores. Diffusion of both guest molecules could be controlled by exposure to vapors of water or chloroform; the latter both induced a reversible on-off control of the translational movement of the molecules.