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Open Access Nano Express

A comparative study of non-covalent encapsulation methods for organic dyes into silica nanoparticles

Aurélien Auger*, Jorice Samuel, Olivier Poncelet and Olivier Raccurt

Author Affiliations

CEA Grenoble, Department of Nano Materials, NanoChemistry and NanoSafety Laboratory (DRT/LITEN/DTNM/LCSN), 17 rue des Martyrs, 38054 Grenoble Cedex 9, France

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:328  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-328

Published: 13 April 2011

Abstract

Numerous luminophores may be encapsulated into silica nanoparticles (< 100 nm) using the reverse microemulsion process. Nevertheless, the behaviour and effect of such luminescent molecules appear to have been much less studied and may possibly prevent the encapsulation process from occurring. Such nanospheres represent attractive nanoplatforms for the development of biotargeted biocompatible luminescent tracers. Physical and chemical properties of the encapsulated molecules may be affected by the nanomatrix. This study examines the synthesis of different types of dispersed silica nanoparticles, the ability of the selected luminophores towards incorporation into the silica matrix of those nanoobjects as well as the photophysical properties of the produced dye-doped silica nanoparticles. The nanoparticles present mean diameters between 40 and 60 nm as shown by TEM analysis. Mainly, the photophysical characteristics of the dyes are retained upon their encapsulation into the silica matrix, leading to fluorescent silica nanoparticles. This feature article surveys recent research progress on the fabrication strategies of these dye-doped silica nanoparticles.