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Nano-organic Photoelectronic Laboratory and Key Laboratory of Photochemical Conversion, Optoelectronic Materials, Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China
; Tel: +86 10 82543510
Nanoscale, 2012,4, 5373-5377
10 May 2012,
02 Jul 2012
First published online
04 Jul 2012
We develop a new strategy of using surface functionalized small molecule organic dye nanoparticles (NPs) for targeted cell imaging. Organic dye (2-tert-butyl-9,10-di(naphthalen-2-yl)anthracene, TBADN) was fabricated into NPs and this was followed by surface modification with an amphipathic surfactant poly(maleic anhydride-alt-1-octadecene)-polyethylene glycol (C18PMH-PEG) through hydrophobic interactions to achieve good water dispersibility and bio-environmental stability. It should be noted that no additional inert materials were added as carriers, thus the dye-loading capacity of the resulting TBADN NPs is obviously higher than those of previously reported carrier-based structures. This would lead to much larger absorption and then much higher brightness. The resulting TBADN NPs possess comparable, if not higher, brightness than CdSe/ZnS quantum dots under the same conditions, with favorable biocompatibility. Significantly, TBADN NPs are readily conjugated with folic acid, and successfully applied in targeted cell imaging. These results show that water dispersible and highly stable organic NPs would be a promising new class of fluorescent probe for bioapplications in cellular imaging and labeling. This strategy may be straightforwardly extended to other organic dyes to achieve water dispersible NPs for cell imaging and drug delivery.
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