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WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol
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Gold nanoclusters with enhanced tunable fluorescence as bioimaging probes

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Development of unique bioimaging probes offering essential information's about bio environments are an important step forward in biomedical science. Nanotechnology offers variety of novel imaging nanoprobes having high‐photo stability as compared to conventional molecular probes which often experience rapid photo bleaching problem. Although great advances have been made on the development of semiconductor nanocrystals‐based fluorescent imaging probes, potential toxicity issue by heavy metal component limits their in vivo therapeutic and clinical application. Recent works show that fluorescent gold clusters (FGCs) can be a promising nontoxic alternative of semiconductor nanocrystals. FGCs derived imaging nanoprobes offer stable and tunable visible emission, small hydrodynamic size, high biocompatibility and have been exploited in variety in vitro and in vivo imaging applications. In this review, we will focus on the synthetic advances and bioimaging application potentials of FGCs. In particular, we will emphasize on functional FGCs that are bright and stable enough to be useful as bioimaging probes. WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol 2014, 6:102–110. doi: 10.1002/wnan.1245 This article is categorized under: Diagnostic Tools > Biosensing Diagnostic Tools > In Vitro Nanoparticle-Based Sensing Nanotechnology Approaches to Biology > Nanoscale Systems in Biology

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(a) Most successful schemes toward functional fluorescent gold clusters suitable for bioimaging application. (b) Time line of the first report of different approaches for synthesis of fluorescent gold clusters.
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Fluorescent gold nanoclusters as cell imaging probe. (a) Fluorescence microscopic image of HeLa cells labeled with oleyl functionalized blue fluorescent gold nanoclusters. (b) Fluorescence microscopic image of HeLa cells labeled with folate functionalized yellow fluorescent gold nanoclusters. (c, d) Fluorescence microscopic image of Human Embryonic Kidney (HEK) 293 cells after lipofectamine‐based delivery with blue (c)/red (d) fluorescent gold nanoclusters. Images show that fluorescent gold clusters (FGCs) efficiently interact and enter into cells.
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Tunable visible emission from gold nanoclusters. Absorption (dotted line), excitation (black line), and emission (color line) spectra of blue (a), green (b), yellow (c), and red (d) emitting gold clusters. Blue, green, and yellow emitting gold clusters are capped with dodecanethiol and coated with amphiphilic polymer and red emitting gold clusters have bovine serum albumin (BSA) capping. Insets show digital image of respective solutions.
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Diagnostic Tools > In Vitro Nanoparticle-Based Sensing
Nanotechnology Approaches to Biology > Nanoscale Systems in Biology
Diagnostic Tools > Biosensing

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