Nanoparticles are promising scaffolds for applications such as imaging, chemical sensors and biosensors, diagnostics, drug delivery, catalysis, energy, photonics, medicine, and more. Surface functionalization of nanoparticles introduces an additional dimension in controlling nanoparticle interfacial properties and provides an effective bridge to connect nanoparticles to biological systems. With fascinating photoluminescence properties, carbon dots (C-dots), carbon-containing nanoparticles that are attracting considerable attention as a new type of quantum dot, are becoming both an important class of imaging probes and a versatile platform for engineering multifunctional nanosensors. In order to transfer C-dots from proof-of-concept studies toward real world applications such as in vivo bioimaging and biosensing, careful design and engineering of C-dot probes is becoming increasingly important. A comprehensive knowledge of how C-dot surfaces with various properties behave is essential for engineering C-dots with useful imaging properties such as high quantum yield, stability, and low toxicity, and with desirable biosensing properties such as high selectivity, sensitivity, and accuracy. Several reviews in recent years have reported preparation methods and properties of C-dots and described their application in biosensors, catalysis, photovoltatic cells, and more. However, no one has yet systematically summarized the surface engineering of C-dots, nor the use of C-dots as fluorescent nanosensors or probes for in vivo imaging in cells, tissues, and living organisms. In this Account, we discuss the major design principles and criteria for engineering the surface functionality of C-dots for biological applications. These criteria include brightness, long-term stability, and good biocompatibility. We review recent developments in designing C-dot surfaces with various functionalities for use as nanosensors or as fluorescent probes with fascinating analytical performance, and we emphasize applications in bioimaging and biosensing in live cells, tissues, and animals. In addition, we highlight our work on the design and synthesis of a C-dot ratiometric biosensor for intracellular Cu2+ detection, and a twophoton fluorescent probe for pH measurement in live cells and tissues. We conclude this Account by outlining future directions in engineering the functional surface of C-dots for a variety of in vivo imaging applications, including dots with combined targeting, imaging and therapeutic-delivery capabilities, or high-resolution multiplexed vascular imaging. With each application C-dots should open new horizons of multiplexed quantitative detection, high-resolution fluorescence imaging, and long-term, real-time monitoring of their target.
This Review covers photonic crystals (PhCs) and their use for sensing mainly chemical and biochemical parameters, with a particular focus on the materials applied. Specific sections are devoted to a) a lead‐in into natural and synthetic photonic nanoarchitectures, b) the various kinds of structures of PhCs, c) reflection and diffraction in PhCs, d) aspects of sensing based on mechanical, thermal, optical, electrical, magnetic, and purely chemical stimuli, e) aspects of biosensing based on biomolecules incorporated into PhCs, and f) current trends and limitations of such sensors. Sense and sensitivity: Nature knew them for millions of years before they were rediscovered by mankind: photonic crystals. Some butterflies and beetles use them for mimicry and survival techniques, for example to distract predators. This Review describes the mode of action of photonic crystals as well as their application for the optical chemo‐ and biosensing of analytes, with a focus on the materials used.
This perspective gives an overview of recent developments in surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) for biosensing. We focus this review on SERS papers published in the last 10 years and to specific applications of detecting biological analytes. Both intrinsic and extrinsic SERS biosensing schemes have been employed to detect and identify small molecules, nucleic acids, lipids, peptides, and proteins, as well as for in vivo and cellular sensing. Current SERS substrate technologies along with a series of advancements in surface chemistry, sample preparation, intrinsic/extrinsic signal transduction schemes, and tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy are discussed. The progress covered herein shows great promise for widespread adoption of SERS biosensing.
In recent years, colorimetric biosensing has attracted much attention because of its low cost, simplicity, and practicality. Since color changes can be read out by the naked eye, colorimetric biosensing does not require expensive or sophisticated instrumentation and may be applied to field analysis and point‐of‐care diagnosis. For transformation of the detection events into color changes, a number of smart materials have been developed, including gold nanoparticles, magnetic nanoparticles, cerium oxide nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes, graphene oxide, and conjugated polymers. Here, we focus on recent developments in colorimetric biosensing using these smart materials. Along with introducing the mechanisms of color changes based on different smart materials, we concentrate on the design of biosensing assays and their potential applications in biomedical diagnosis and environmental monitoring. For transformation of the detection events into color changes, a number of smart materials have been developed, including gold nanoparticles, magnetic nanoparticles, cerium oxide nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes, graphene oxide, and conjugated polymers. Recent developments in colorimetric biosensing using these smart materials and their applications in biomedical diagnosis and environmental monitoring are discussed.
The combination of nanostructures with biomolecules leading to the generation of functional nanosystems holds great promise for biotechnological and biomedical applications. As a naturally occurring biomacromolecule, DNA exhibits excellent biocompatibility and programmability. Also, scalable synthesis can be readily realized through automated instruments. Such unique properties, together with Watson-Crick base-pairing interactions, make DNA a particularly promising candidate to be used as a building block material for a wide variety of nanostructures. In the past few decades, various DNA nanostructures have been developed, including one-, two- and three-dimensional nanomaterials. Aptamers are single-stranded DNA or RNA molecules selected by Systematic Evolution of Ligands by Exponential Enrichment (SELEX), with specific recognition abilities to their targets. Therefore, integrating aptamers into DNA nanostructures results in powerful tools for biosensing and bioimaging applications. Furthermore, owing to their high loading capability, aptamer-modified DNA nanostructures have also been altered to play the role of drug nanocarriers for in vivo applications and targeted cancer therapy. In this review, we summarize recent progress in the design of aptamers and related DNA molecule-integrated DNA nanostructures as well as their applications in biosensing, bioimaging and cancer therapy. To begin with, we first introduce the SELEX technology. Subsequently, the methodologies for the preparation of aptamer-integrated DNA nanostructures are presented. Then, we highlight their applications in biosensing and bioimaging for various targets, as well as targeted cancer therapy applications. Finally, we discuss several challenges and further opportunities in this emerging field. We survey advances in biosensing, bioimaging and cancer therapy applications of aptamer-integrated DNA nanostructures in this review.
Luminescent films have received great interest for chemo-/bio-sensing applications due to their distinct advantages over solution-based probes, such as good stability and portability, tunable shape and size, non-invasion, real-time detection, extensive suitability in gas/vapor sensing, and recycling. On the other hand, they can achieve selective and sensitive detection of chemical/biological species using special luminophores with a recognition moiety or the assembly of common luminophores and functional materials. Nowadays, the extensively used assembly techniques include drop-casting/spin-coating, Langmuir-Blodgett (LB), self-assembled monolayers (SAMs), layer-by-layer (LBL), and electrospinning. Therefore, this review summarizes the recent advances in luminescent films with these assembly techniques and their applications in chemo-/bio-sensing. We mainly focused on the discussion of the relationship between the sensing properties of the films and their architecture. Furthermore, we discussed some critical challenges existing in this field and possible solutions that have been or are being developed to overcome these challenges.
The demand for easy to use and cost effective medical technologies inspires scientists to develop innovative lab-on-chip technologies for point-of-care in vitro diagnostic testing. To fulfill medical needs, the tests should be rapid, sensitive, quantitative, and miniaturizable, and need to integrate all steps from sample-in to result-out. Here, we review the use of magnetic particles actuated by magnetic fields to perform the different process steps that are required for integrated lab-on-chip diagnostic assays. We discuss the use of magnetic particles to mix fluids, to capture specific analytes, to concentrate analytes, to transfer analytes from one solution to another, to label analytes, to perform stringency and washing steps, and to probe biophysical properties of the analytes, distinguishing methodologies with fluid flow and without fluid flow (stationary microfluidics). Our review focuses on efforts to combine and integrate different magnetically actuated assay steps, with the vision that it will become possible in the future to realize integrated lab-on-chip biosensing assays in which all assay process steps are controlled and optimized by magnetic forces.
Silicon nanomaterials are an important class of nanomaterials with great potential for technologies including energy, catalysis, and biotechnology, because of their many unique properties, including biocompatibility, abundance, and unique electronic, optical, and mechanical properties, among others. Silicon nanomaterials are known to have little or no toxicity due to favorable biocompatibility of silicon, which is an important precondition for biological and biomedical applications. In addition, huge surface-to-volume ratios of silicon nanomaterials are responsible for their unique optical, mechanical, or electronic properties, which offer exciting opportunities for design of high-performance silicon-based functional nanoprobes, nanosensors, and nanoagents for biological analysis and detection and disease treatment. Moreover, silicon is the second most abundant element (after oxygen) on earth, providing plentiful and inexpensive resources for large-scale and low-cost preparation of silicon nanomaterials for practical applications. Because of these attractive traits, and in parallel with a growing interest in their design and synthesis, silicon nanomaterials are extensively investigated for wide-ranging applications, including energy, catalysis, optoelectronics, and biology. Among them, bioapplications of silicon nanomaterials are of particular interest. In the past decade, scientists have made an extensive effort to construct a silicon nanomaterials platform for various biological and biomedical applications, such as biosensors, bioimaging, and cancer treatment, as new and powerful tools for disease diagnosis and therapy. Nonetheless, there are few review articles covering these important and promising achievements to promote the awareness of development of silicon nanobiotechnology. In this Account, we summarize recent representative works to highlight the recent developments of silicon functional nanomaterials for a new, powerful platform for biological and biomedical applications, including biosensor, bioimaging, and cancer therapy. First, we show that the interesting photoluminescence properties (e.g., strong fluorescence and robust photostability) and excellent biocompatibility of silicon nanoparticles (SiNPs) are superbly suitable for direct and long-term visualization of biological systems. The strongly fluorescent SiNPs are highly effective for bioimaging applications, especially for long-term cellular labeling, cancer cell detection, and tumor imaging in vitro and in vivo with high sensitivity. Next, we discuss the utilization of silicon nanomaterials to construct high-performance biosensors, such as silicon-based field-effect transistors (FET) and surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) sensors, which hold great promise for ultrasensitive and selective detection of biological species (e.g., DNA and protein). Then, we introduce recent exciting research findings on the applications of silicon nanomaterials for cancer therapy with encouraging therapeutic outcomes. Lastly, we highlight the major challenges and promises in this field, and the prospect of a new nanobiotechnology platform based on silicon nanomaterials.
In this review we discuss recent developments on the use of mobile phones and similar devices for biosensing applications in which diagnostics and communications are coupled. Owing to the capabilities of mobile phones (their cameras, connectivity, portability, etc.) and to advances in biosensing, the coupling of these two technologies is enabling portable and user-friendly analytical devices. Any user can now perform quick, robust and easy (bio)assays anywhere and at any time. Among the most widely reported of such devices are paper-based platforms. Herein we provide an overview of a broad range of biosensing possibilities, from optical to electrochemical measurements; explore the various reported designs for adapters; and consider future opportunities for this technology in fields such as health diagnostics, safety & security, and environment monitoring.
A label-free optical biosensor based on a one-dimensional photonic crystal microring resonator with enhanced light-matter interaction is demonstrated. More than a 2-fold improvement in volumetric and surface sensing sensitivity is achieved compared to conventional microring sensors. The experimental bulk detection sensitivity is ~248nm/RIU and label-free detection of DNA and proteins is reported at the nanomolar scale. With a minimum feature size greater than 100nm, the photonic crystal microring resonator biosensor can be fabricated with the same standard lithographic techniques used to mass fabricate conventional microring resonators.