Nanoparticles with Long Afterglow for Life Sciences Research

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Molecular-scale fluorescent markers are a staple of many branches of life sciences research. They get excited and emit a glow when illuminated with a laser, and so can be spotted and associated with cells and other biological things they’re attached to. A common problem with the fluorescent agents is that they lose their glow shortly after being energized. Moreover, tissues nearby get excited by the laser too, producing their own “autofluorescence” that muddies the glow coming from the fluorescent dyes.

Now researchers at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have developed new, biocompatible semiconductor polymer nanoparticles that can glow long after the laser used to excite them is turned off. This can allow for easier, clearer, and longer term studies that track a variety of biological activity. Additionally, if frozen at -20° Celsius, the glow can be paused and restarted once thawed.  This would allow researchers to separate the sampling and introduction of the dye from imaging and analysis, putting less pressure on research teams performing experiments.

The study, appearing in journal Nature Biotechnology demonstrated in laboratory mice a glow that has a half life of around six minutes and its intensity was 100 times brighter than afterglow produced by commonly used, and often toxic, inorganic agents. The researchers used the fluorescent nanoparticles to image lymph nodes and tumors in living mice, demonstrating the technology in an example application.

Study in Nature Biotechnology: Molecular afterglow imaging with bright, biodegradable polymer nanoparticles…

Via: Nanyang Tech…


Source: Medgadget

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