Philip DeShong‘s lab in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, working in collaboration with the research labs of Doug English (Wichita State), Michael Zachariah (Chemical Engineering and Chemistry & Biochemistry, UMCP) and Stein (Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics, UMCP) have published an article in Advanced Functional Materials on the synthesis and characterization of a new class of highly fluorescent silica nanoparticles (FSNs). Employing this method, nanoparticles can be prepared in a variety of “colors” by the inclusion of hydrophobic dyes into the nanoparticle synthesis procedure. The resulting nanoparticles have physicochemical properties that are particularly important for commercial applications: the nanoparticles are monodispersed (Figure 1), are stable under physiological conditions, and possess a stable, long lived fluorescence (Figure 2).
The fluorescence of FSNs prepared with sulforhodamine B is 10 times more intense than the fluorescence of 4.5 nm CdSe quantum dots. To demonstrate the potential of these nanoparticles in a diagnostic application, the attachment of an antibody against Neisseria gonorrhoea was attached to the surface of the nanoparticle and the resulting fluorescently labelled antibody was used in flow cytometry experiments to detect a bacterial pathogen.