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Enhanced distance-dependent fluorescence quenching using size tuneable core shell silica nanoparticles

Elsutohy, Mohamed M.; Selo, Amjad; Chauhan, Veeren M.; Tendler, Saul J.B.; Aylott, Jonathan W.

Enhanced distance-dependent fluorescence quenching using size tuneable core shell silica nanoparticles Thumbnail


Mohamed M. Elsutohy

Amjad Selo

Saul J.B. Tendler


Silica nanoparticles (SNPs) have been used as favoured platforms for sensor, drug delivery and biological imaging applications, due to their ease of synthesis, size-control and bespoke physico-chemical properties. In this study, we have developed a protocol for the synthesis of size-tuneable SNPs, with diameters ranging from 20 nm to 500 nm, through the optimisation of experimental components required for nanoparticle synthesis. This protocol was also used to prepare fluorescent SNPs, via covalent linkages of fluorophores, to the nanoparticle matrix using 3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane (APTES). This enabled the fabrication of ratiometric, fluorescent, pH-sensitive nanosensors (75 nm diameter) composed SNPs covalently linked to two pH-sensitive fluorescent dyes Oregon Green (OG) and 5(6)-carboxyfluorescein (FAM) and a reference fluorescent dye 5-(6)-carboxytetramethylrhodamine (TAMRA), extending the dynamic range of measurement from pH 3.5 to 7.5. In addition, size-tuneable, core-shell SNPs, covalently linked to a fluorescent TAMRA core were synthesised to investigate distance-dependant fluorescence quenching between TAMRA and black hole quencher 2 (BHQ2®) using nanometre-sized silica shells as physical spacers. The results showed a significant fluorescence quenching could be observed over greater distances than that reported for the classical distance-dependent molecular fluorescence quenching techniques, e.g. the Förster (fluorescence) resonance energy transfer (FRET). The methods and protocols we have detailed in this manuscript will provide the basis for the reproducible production of size tunable SNPs, which will find broad utility in the development of sensors for biological applications.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 6, 2018
Online Publication Date Oct 19, 2018
Publication Date Oct 19, 2018
Deposit Date Oct 16, 2018
Publicly Available Date Nov 5, 2018
Journal RSC Advances
Electronic ISSN 2046-2069
Publisher Royal Society of Chemistry
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 62
Pages 35840-35848
Public URL
Publisher URL!divAbstract


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