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Issue 5, 2011
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Facile preparation of water-soluble fluorescent gold nanoclusters for cellular imaging applications

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Abstract

We report a facile strategy to synthesize water-soluble, fluorescent gold nanoclusters (AuNCs) in one step by using a mild reductant, tetrakis(hydroxymethyl)phosphonium chloride (THPC). A zwitterionic functional ligand, D-penicillamine (DPA), as a capping agent endowed the AuNCs with excellent stability in aqueous solvent over the physiologically relevant pH range. The DPA-capped AuNCs displayed excitation and emission bands at 400 and 610 nm, respectively; the fluorescence quantum yield was 1.3%. The effect of borohydride reduction on the optical spectra and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) results indicated that the AuNC luminescence is closely related to the presence of Au(I) on their surfaces. In a first optical imaging application, we studied internalization of the AuNCs by live HeLa cells using confocal microscopy with two-photon excitation. A cell viability assay revealed good biocompatibility of these AuNCs. Our studies demonstrate a great potential of DPA-stabilized AuNCs as fluorescent nanoprobes in bioimaging and related applications.

Graphical abstract: Facile preparation of water-soluble fluorescent gold nanoclusters for cellular imaging applications

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
06 Dec 2010
Accepted
15 Jan 2011
First published
10 Feb 2011

Nanoscale, 2011,3, 2009-2014
Article type
Paper

Facile preparation of water-soluble fluorescent gold nanoclusters for cellular imaging applications

L. Shang, R. M. Dörlich, S. Brandholt, R. Schneider, V. Trouillet, M. Bruns, D. Gerthsen and G. U. Nienhaus, Nanoscale, 2011, 3, 2009
DOI: 10.1039/C0NR00947D

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