Luminescent nanomaterials for molecular-specific cellular imaging

Andrei Vasilyevich Zvyagin, Zhen Song, Annemarie Nadort, Varun Kumaraswamy Annayya Sreenivasan, Sergey Mikhailovich Deyev

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Imaging of molecular trafficking in cells and biological tissue aided by molecular-specific fluorescent labeling is very attractive, since it affords capturing the key processes in comprehensive biological context. Several shortcomings of the existing organic dye labeling technology, however, call for development of alternative molecular reporters, with improved photostability, reduced cytotoxicity, and an increased number of controllable surface moieties. Such alternative molecular reporters are represented by inorganic luminescent nanoparticles (NP) whose optical, physical, and chemical properties are discussed on the examples of luminescent nanodiamonds (LND) and upconversion nanoparticles (UCNP). The emission origins of these nanomaterials differ markedly. LND emission results from individual nitrogen-vacancy color-centers in a biocompatible nanodiamond host whose properties can be controlled via size and surface groups. Photophysics of UCNP is governed by the collective, nonlinear excitation transfer processes, resulting in conversion of longer-wavelength excitation to the shorter-wavelength emission. The emission/excitation spectral properties of UCNP falling within the biological tissue transparency window open new opportunities of almost complete suppression of the cell/tissue autofluorescence background. The developed surface of these nanoparticles represents a flexible platform populated with biocompatible surface moieties onto which cargo and targeting biomolecules can be firmly docked through a process called bioconjugation. These bioconjugated modules, e.g., nanodiamond-antibody, (quantum dot)-somatostatin, or (upconversion nanoparticle)-(mini-antibody) can gain admission into the cells by initiating the cell-specific, cell-recognized communication protocol. In this chapter, we aim to demonstrate the whole bottom-up bio-nano-optics approach for optical biological imaging capturing luminescent nanoparticle design, surface activation, and bioconjugation and the resultant bioconjugate module deployment in specific internalization in the cell.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHandbook of nano-optics and nanophotonics
    EditorsMotoichi Ohtsu
    Place of PublicationBerlin ; New York
    PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
    Number of pages34
    ISBN (Print)9783642310652
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Publication series

    NameSpringer reference


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