Nanoparticles made of π-conjugated compounds targeted for chemical and biological applications
Semiconducting organic nanoparticles have recently attracted increasing attention in the chemical and biomedical fields. Such nanoparticles are mainly composed of π-conjugated compounds. They possess the properties of easy synthesis, facile tuning, less toxicity and more biocompatibility relative to the existing inorganic nanoparticles. In addition, they show advantages such as brighter fluorescence, higher photostability and higher biocompatibility, compared with classical fluorescent organic dyes. In this review, we summarize the latest advances in the development of organic nanoparticles made of π-conjugated compounds, including preparation methods, material design, nanoparticle fabrication and surface functionalization for chemical and biological applications. Especially, we focus on the applications of semiconducting organic nanoparticles in chemical and biological sensing by monitoring the fluorescence signal, as nanocarriers for drug/gene delivery, in photothermal and photodynamic therapy, and in photoacoustic imaging. Finally, the challenges and perspectives for the future development of organic nanoparticles based on π-conjugated compounds are also discussed.