Evaluation of Different Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Surface Coatings for Single-Particle Tracking Applications in Biological Environments.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Nanomaterials (Basel), Volume 7, Issue 11 (2017)


<p>Fluorescence imaging of biological systems down to the single-molecule level has generated many advances in cellular biology. For applications within intact tissue, single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) are emerging as distinctive single-molecule nanoprobes, due to their near-infrared photoluminescence properties. For this, SWCNT surfaces must be coated using adequate molecular moieties. Yet, the choice of the suspension agent is critical since it influences both the chemical and emission properties of the SWCNTs within their environment. Here, we compare the most commonly used surface coatings for encapsulating photoluminescent SWCNTs in the context of bio-imaging applications. To be applied as single-molecule nanoprobes, encapsulated nanotubes should display low cytotoxicity, and minimal unspecific interactions with cells while still being highly luminescent so as to be imaged and tracked down to the single nanotube level for long periods of time. We tested the cell proliferation and cellular viability of each surface coating and evaluated the impact of the biocompatible surface coatings on nanotube photoluminescence brightness. Our study establishes that phospholipid-polyethylene glycol-coated carbon nanotube is the best current choice for single nanotube tracking experiments in live biological samples.</p>

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