Lanthanide-based luminescence biolabelling
Luminescent lanthanide complexes display unrivalled spectroscopic properties, which place them in a special category in the luminescent toolbox. Their long-lived line-like emission spectra are the cornerstones of numerous analytical applications ranging from ultrasensitive homogeneous fluoroimmunoassays to the study of molecular interactions in living cells with multiplexed microscopy. However, achieving such minor miracles is a result of years of synthetic efforts and spectroscopic studies to understand and gather all the necessary requirements for the labels to be efficient. This feature article intends to survey these criteria and to discuss some of the most important examples reported in the literature, before explaining in detail some of the applications of luminescent lanthanide labels to bioanalysis and luminescence microscopy. Finally, the emphasis will be put on some recent applications that hold great potential for future biosensing.