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Issue 29, 2018
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Thermochemiluminescent semiconducting polymer dots as sensitive nanoprobes for reagentless immunoassay

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Abstract

Thermochemiluminescence (TCL) is a potentially simple and sensitive detection principle, as the light emission is simply elicited by thermally-triggered decomposition of a molecule to produce a singlet excited-state product. Here we report about TCL semiconductive polymer dots (TCL-Pdots) obtained by doping fluorescent cyano-polyphenylene vinylene (CN-PPV) Pdots with an acridine 1,2-dioxetane derivative. The TCL-Pdots showed remarkable stability over time and minimum leaching of the thermo-responsive species. Furthermore, detectability of TCL-Pdots was improved by taking advantage of both the high number of 1,2-dioxetanes entrapped in each nanoparticle (about 20 molecules per Pdot) and the 5-fold enhancement of TCL emission due to energy transfer from 1,2-dioxetane to the polymer matrix, which itself acted as an energy acceptor. Indeed, upon heating the TCL-Pdots to 110 °C, 1,2-dioxetane decomposes generating an acridanone product in its electronically excited state. The latter transfers its energy to the surrounding CN-PPV chains via the Förster mechanism (ϕFRET about 80%), resulting in intense yellow light emission (550 nm wavelength). We next conjugated streptavidin onto the surface of these TCL-Pdots and demonstrated their suitability for use in biological studies. In particular, we used TCL-Pdots as labels in a model non-competitive immunoassay for IgG detection, which showed a LOD of 13 nM IgG and a dynamic range extending up to 230 nM. By combining the biocompatibility, brightness and tunability of Pdot fluorescence emission with the thermally-triggered reagentless light generation from TCL 1,2-dioxetanes, a broad panel of ultrabright TCL nanosystems could be designed for a variety of bioscience applications, even in multiplexed formats.

Graphical abstract: Thermochemiluminescent semiconducting polymer dots as sensitive nanoprobes for reagentless immunoassay

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
16 Apr 2018
Accepted
19 Jun 2018
First published
22 Jun 2018

Nanoscale, 2018,10, 14012-14021
Article type
Paper

Thermochemiluminescent semiconducting polymer dots as sensitive nanoprobes for reagentless immunoassay

L. A. Andronico, L. Chen, M. Mirasoli, M. Guardigli, A. Quintavalla, M. Lombardo, C. Trombini, D. T. Chiu and A. Roda, Nanoscale, 2018, 10, 14012 DOI: 10.1039/C8NR03092H

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