One-pot synthesis of super-bright fluorescent nanogel contrast agents containing a dithiomaleimide fluorophore

Mathew P. Robin, Jeffery E. Raymond, Rachel K. O'Reilly
  • Materials Horizons, January 2015, Royal Society of Chemistry
  • DOI: 10.1039/c4mh00167b

Nanoscale bright beacons

What is it about?

In this work a simple strategy (emulsion polymerization) has been to make nanometer sized fluorescent nanoparticles (12-18nm radius) in a single step reaction from some cheap commodity starting materials. These particles contain the dithiomaleimide (DTM) fluorophore and display super-bright emission of green light, with a long fluorescence lifetime of ca. 25ns. We show that these nanoparticle contrast agents outperform a commonly used alternative for quantitative imaging.

Why is it important?

These fluorescent contrast agents have the potential to be widely used in biological imaging (in vitro and in vivo). They show quantitative emission (brightness proportional to amount of agent), are compatible with commercial microscope setups (FITC-like emission), and their long fluorescence lifetimes mean they outshine cell's background fluorescence. Furthermore, the simple strategy used gives the potential for industrial scale nanoparticle fabrication.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Mathew Robin