Soft fluorescent nanomaterials for biological and biomedical imaging
Soft fluorescent nanomaterials have attracted recent attention as imaging agents for biological applications, because they provide the advantages of good biocompatibility, high brightness, and easy biofunctionalization. Here, we provide a survey of recent developments in fluorescent soft nano-sized biological imaging agents. Various soft fluorescent nanoparticles (NPs) (including dye-doped polymer NPs, semiconducting polymer NPs, small-molecule organic NPs, nanogels, micelles, vesicles, and biomaterial-based NPs) are summarized from the perspectives of preparation methods, structure, optical properties, and surface functionalization. Based on both optical and functional properties of the nano-sized imaging agents, their applications are then reviewed in terms of in vitro imaging, in vivo imaging, and cellular-process imaging, by means of specific or nonspecific targeting.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Imaging Agents