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Issue 8, 2010
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Upconversion nanoparticles in biological labeling, imaging, and therapy

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Upconversion refers to non-linear optical processes that convert two or more low-energy pump photons to a higher-energy output photon. After being recognized in the mid-1960s, upconversion has attracted significant research interest for its applications in optical devices such as infrared quantum counter detectors and compact solid-state lasers. Over the past decade, upconversion has become more prominent in biological sciences as the preparation of high-quality lanthanide-doped nanoparticles has become increasingly routine. Owing to their small physical dimensions and biocompatibility, upconversion nanoparticles can be easily coupled to proteins or other biological macromolecular systems and used in a variety of assay formats ranging from bio-detection to cancer therapy. In addition, intense visible emission from these nanoparticles under near-infrared excitation, which is less harmful to biological samples and has greater sample penetration depths than conventional ultraviolet excitation, enhances their prospects as luminescent stains in bio-imaging. In this article, we review recent developments in optical biolabeling and bio-imaging involving upconversion nanoparticles, simultaneously bringing to the forefront the desirable characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of these luminescent nanomaterials.

Graphical abstract: Upconversion nanoparticles in biological labeling, imaging, and therapy

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Publication details

The article was received on 15 Mar 2010, accepted on 14 Apr 2010 and first published on 18 May 2010

Article type: Critical Review
DOI: 10.1039/C0AN00144A
Analyst, 2010,135, 1839-1854

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    Upconversion nanoparticles in biological labeling, imaging, and therapy

    F. Wang, D. Banerjee, Y. Liu, X. Chen and X. Liu, Analyst, 2010, 135, 1839
    DOI: 10.1039/C0AN00144A

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