Vapor phase mediated cellular uptake of sub 5 nm nanoparticles
1 University of Lyon, Nanotechnology Institute of Lyon (INL), UMR-5270, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Lyon, Villeurbanne, F-69621, France
2 Institute of High Technologies, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, 64, Volodymyrs'ka Str, 01601 Kyiv, Ukraine
3 University of Lyon, CarMeN Laboratory, Unité Mixte de Recherche, UMR INSERM Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, 1060 INSA de Lyon, France
Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:212 doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-212Published: 11 April 2012
Nanoparticles became an important and wide-used tool for cell imaging because of their unique optical properties. Although the potential of nanoparticles (NPs) in biology is promising, a number of questions concerning the safety of nanomaterials and the risk/benefit ratio of their usage are open. Here, we have shown that nanoparticles produced from silicon carbide (NPs) dispersed in colloidal suspensions are able to penetrate into surrounding air environment during the natural evaporation of the colloids and label biological cells via vapor phase. Natural gradual size-tuning of NPs in dependence to the distance from the NP liquid source allows progressive shift of the fluorescence color of labeled cells in the blue region according to the increase of the distance from the NP suspension. This effect may be used for the soft vapor labeling of biological cells with the possibility of controlling the color of fluorescence. However, scientists dealing with the colloidal NPs have to seriously consider such a NP's natural transfer in order to protect their own health as well as to avoid any contamination of the control samples.