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Facile preparation of water-soluble fluorescent gold nanoclusters for cellular imaging applications

Shang, Li; Dörlich, René M.; Brandholt, Stefan; Schneider, Reinhard; Trouillet, Vanessa; Bruns, Michael; Gerthsen, Dagmar; Nienhaus, G. Ulrich

We report a facile strategy to synthesize water-soluble, fluorescent gold nanoclusters (AuNCs) in one step by using a mild reductant, tetrakis(hydroxymethyl)phosphonium chloride (THPC). A zwitterionic functional ligand, D-penicillamine (DPA), as a capping agent endowed the AuNCs with excellent stability in aqueous solvent over the physiologically relevant pH range. The DPA-capped AuNCs displayed excitation and emission bands at 400 and 610 nm, respectively; the fluorescence quantum yield was 1.3%. The effect of borohydride reduction on the optical spectra and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) results indicated that the AuNC luminescence is closely related to the presence of Au(I) on their surfaces. In a first optical imaging application, we studied internalization of the AuNCs by live HeLa cells using confocal microscopy with two-photon excitation. A cell viability assay revealed good biocompatibility of these AuNCs. Our studies demonstrate a great potential of DPA-stabilized AuNCs as fluorescent nanoprobes in bioimaging and related applications.

Zugehörige Institution(en) am KIT Institut für Angewandte Physik (APH)
Laboratorium für Elektronenmikroskopie (LEM)
Institut für Angewandte Materialien - Werkstoffprozesstechnik (IAM-WPT)
Publikationstyp Zeitschriftenaufsatz
Jahr 2011
Sprache Englisch
Identifikator ISSN: 2040-3364
KITopen ID: 1000027130
HGF-Programm 47.03.02; LK 01
Erschienen in Nanoscale
Band 3
Heft 5
Seiten 2009 - 2014
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