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Open Access Highly Accessed Nano Review

Multifunctional Magnetic-fluorescent Nanocomposites for Biomedical Applications

Serena A Corr1, Yury P Rakovich2* and Yurii K Gun’ko1

Author Affiliations

1 The School of Chemistry, Trinity College, University of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

2 The School of Physics, Trinity College, University of Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2008, 3:87-104  doi:10.1007/s11671-008-9122-8

Published: 6 March 2008

Abstract

Nanotechnology is a fast-growing area, involving the fabrication and use of nano-sized materials and devices. Various nanocomposite materials play a number of important roles in modern science and technology. Magnetic and fluorescent inorganic nanoparticles are of particular importance due to their broad range of potential applications. It is expected that the combination of magnetic and fluorescent properties in one nanocomposite would enable the engineering of unique multifunctional nanoscale devices, which could be manipulated using external magnetic fields. The aim of this review is to present an overview of bimodal “two-in-one” magnetic-fluorescent nanocomposite materials which combine both magnetic and fluorescent properties in one entity, in particular those with potential applications in biotechnology and nanomedicine. There is a great necessity for the development of these multifunctional nanocomposites, but there are some difficulties and challenges to overcome in their fabrication such as quenching of the fluorescent entity by the magnetic core. Fluorescent-magnetic nanocomposites include a variety of materials including silica-based, dye-functionalised magnetic nanoparticles and quantum dots-magnetic nanoparticle composites. The classification and main synthesis strategies, along with approaches for the fabrication of fluorescent-magnetic nanocomposites, are considered. The current and potential biomedical uses, including biological imaging, cell tracking, magnetic bioseparation, nanomedicine and bio- and chemo-sensoring, of magnetic-fluorescent nanocomposites are also discussed.

Keywords:
Nanoparticles; Magnetic particles; Fluorescence; Quantum dots; Biological imaging; Cells; Nanomedicine