Luminescent properties of ZrO2:Tb nanoparticles for applications in neuroscience

A. Słońska, J. Kaszewski*, E. Wolska-Kornio, B. Witkowski, Ł. Wachnicki, E. Mijowska, V. Karakitsou, Z. Gajewski, M. Godlewski, M. M. Godlewski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper a new generation of non-toxic nanoparticles based on the zirconium oxide doped with 0.5%Tb and co-doped by the range of 0-70% with Y was evaluated for the use as a fluorescent biomarker of neuronal trafficking. The ZrO2:Tb nanoparticles were created by microwave driven hydrothermal method. Influence of the yttrium content and thermal processing on the Tb3+ related luminescence emission was discussed. The higher intensities were achieved, when host was cubic and for the nanoparticles with 33nm. Presence of yttrium was associated with the energy coupling of the host and dopant, wide excitation band is present at 309 and 322nm before and after calcination respectively.

For the experiment on living primary neurons, nanoparticles doped with 0.5%Tb and 7%Y were chosen based on their luminescence emission intensity. Recently transfer of the nanoparticles through the barriers in the organism including blood-brain barrier following their alimentary absorption was confirmed (Godlewski and Godlewski, 2012). This raised the possibility of the nanoparticle application as a tool in the neuroscience, and the question of potential mechanisms of nanoparticle turnover in neurons. Concentration of 0.001mg/ml of ZrO2:0.5%Tb 7%Y in growth medium was added to the primary murine culture medium, and the intracellular trafficking of nanoparticles was observed following 15min pre-incubation period. ZrO2:0.5%Tb 7%Y nanoparticles were dynamically absorbed by the neurons and the dynamic passage of transport vesicles containing ZrO2:0.5%Tb 7%Y nanoparticles was observed along the neuronal processes and in between two neighbouring neurons. Reassuming, the ZrO2:0.5%Tb 7%Y nanoparticles proved to be biocompatible and a valid tool to assess intracellular trafficking dynamics in the neurobiology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-102
Number of pages7
JournalOptical Materials
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Workshop on Advanced Spectroscopy and Optical Materials (5th : 2015) - Gdansk, Poland
Duration: 19 Jul 201524 Jul 2015


  • Nanoparticles
  • Luminescence
  • Terbium
  • Intracellular trafficking
  • Primary murine neurons


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