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Nat Nanotechnol ; 14(5): 420-425, 2019 05.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30833691


Electron microscopy has been instrumental in our understanding of complex biological systems. Although electron microscopy reveals cellular morphology with nanoscale resolution, it does not provide information on the location of different types of proteins. An electron-microscopy-based bioimaging technology capable of localizing individual proteins and resolving protein-protein interactions with respect to cellular ultrastructure would provide important insights into the molecular biology of a cell. Here, we synthesize small lanthanide-doped nanoparticles and measure the absolute photon emission rate of individual nanoparticles resulting from a given electron excitation flux (cathodoluminescence). Our results suggest that the optimization of nanoparticle composition, synthesis protocols and electron imaging conditions can lead to sub-20-nm nanolabels that would enable high signal-to-noise localization of individual biomolecules within a cellular context. In ensemble measurements, these labels exhibit narrow spectra of nine distinct colours, so the imaging of biomolecules in a multicolour electron microscopy modality may be possible.

Corantes Fluorescentes/química , Microscopia Eletrônica de Transmissão , Nanopartículas/química
Nano Lett ; 18(4): 2689-2695, 2018 04 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29589449


We demonstrate a facile method to improve upconversion quantum yields in Yb,Er-based nanoparticles via emission dye-sensitization. Using the commercially available dye ATTO 542, chosen for its high radiative rate and significant spectral overlap with the green emission of Er3+, we decorate the surfaces of sub-25 nm hexagonal-phase Na(Y/Gd/Lu)0.8F4:Yb0.18Er0.02 upconverting nanoparticles with varying dye concentrations. Upconversion photoluminescence and absorption spectroscopy provide experimental confirmation of energy transfer to and emission from the dye molecules. Upconversion quantum yield is observed to increase with dye sensitization, with the highest enhancement measured for the smallest particles investigated (10.9 nm in diameter); specifically, these dye-decorated particles are more than 2× brighter than are unmodified, organic-soluble nanoparticles and more than 10× brighter than are water-soluble nanoparticles. We also observe 3× lifetime reductions with dye adsorption, confirming the quantum yield enhancement to result from the high radiative rate of the dye. The approach detailed in this work is widely implementable, renders the nanoparticles water-soluble, and most significantly improves sub-15 nm nanoparticles, making our method especially attractive for biological imaging applications.

Nano Lett ; 17(7): 4172-4177, 2017 07 12.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28608687


Mechanical forces affect a myriad of processes, from bone growth to material fracture to touch-responsive robotics. While nano- to micro-Newton forces are prevalent at the microscopic scale, few methods have the nanoscopic size and signal stability to measure them in vivo or in situ. Here, we develop an optical force-sensing platform based on sub-25 nm NaYF4 nanoparticles (NPs) doped with Yb3+, Er3+, and Mn2+. The lanthanides Yb3+ and Er3+ enable both photoluminescence and upconversion, while the energetically coupled d-metal Mn2+ adds force tunability through its crystal field sensitivity. Using a diamond anvil cell to exert up to 3.5 GPa pressure or ∼10 µN force per particle, we track stress-induced spectral responses. The red (660 nm) to green (520, 540 nm) emission ratio varies linearly with pressure, yielding an observed color change from orange to red for α-NaYF4 and from yellow-green to green for d-metal optimized ß-NaYF4 when illuminated in the near infrared. Consistent readouts are recorded over multiple pressure cycles and hours of illumination. With the nanoscopic size, a dynamic range of 100 nN to 10 µN, and photostability, these nanoparticles lay the foundation for visualizing dynamic mechanical processes, such as stress propagation in materials and force signaling in organisms.

Nano Lett ; 15(3): 1891-7, 2015 Mar 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25647523


NaYF4:Yb(3+),Er(3+) nanoparticle upconverters are hindered by low quantum efficiencies arising in large part from the parity-forbidden nature of their optical transitions and the nonoptimal spatial separations between lanthanide ions. Here, we use pressure-induced lattice distortion to systematically modify both parameters. Although hexagonal-phase nanoparticles exhibit a monotonic decrease in upconversion emission, cubic-phase particles experience a nearly 2-fold increase in efficiency. In-situ X-ray diffraction indicates that these emission changes require only a 1% reduction in lattice constant. Our work highlights the intricate relationship between upconversion efficiency and lattice geometry and provides a promising approach to modifying the quantum efficiency of any lanthanide upconverter.