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Issue 19, 2017
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A convenient, bio-inspired approach to the synthesis of multi-functional, stable fluorescent silica nanoparticles using poly(ethylene-imine)

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Abstract

Branched poly(ethylene-imine) can be tagged with luminescent dyes (e.g., fluorescein isothiocyanate and tetramethylrhodamine isothiocyanate) and used to precipitate spherical silica particles from 10s-to-100s of nm diameter size under mild conditions. These dye–PEI/SiO2 nanoparticles are highly compatible with polar solvents to give bright fluorescent suspensions, and detailed photophysical characterization reveals well-separated dye moieties with an approximately homogeneous dispersion of dye–PEI conjugate throughout the SiO2 matrix. Reaction of PEI amine groups incorporated at the particle surface affords a simple method for post-synthesis functionalization of these materials, and the formation of FITC/Eosin-Y fluorescence resonance energy transfer pair-tagged particles and SiO2@Au core–shell nanocomposites using this strategy is demonstrated. This bio-inspired approach to multi-functional SiO2 nanoparticles provides a range of potential advantages over traditional “inorganic” syntheses of similar materials, as it proceeds through a scalable, single-step reaction using inexpensive reagents, enables efficient incorporation of luminescent species into the resulting particles with very limited dye aggregation, and provides nanoparticles that do not require post-synthesis modification for further conjugation with species of interest. The method offers a simple means to generate complex nanocomposites, whereby a host of desired species can be incorporated both inside and on the surface of biocompatible SiO2 nanoparticles.

Graphical abstract: A convenient, bio-inspired approach to the synthesis of multi-functional, stable fluorescent silica nanoparticles using poly(ethylene-imine)

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Publication details

The article was received on 19 Jan 2017, accepted on 27 Mar 2017 and first published on 04 Apr 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR00462A
Citation: Nanoscale, 2017,9, 6509-6520
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    A convenient, bio-inspired approach to the synthesis of multi-functional, stable fluorescent silica nanoparticles using poly(ethylene-imine)

    C. A. Bauer, G. Chi, O. Q. Likens and S. M. Brown, Nanoscale, 2017, 9, 6509
    DOI: 10.1039/C7NR00462A

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