Macromolecularly “caged” carbon nanoparticles for intracellular trafficking via switchable photoluminescence

Authors: Santosh K. Misra, Indrajit Srivastava, Indu Tripathi, Enrique Daza, Fatemeh Ostadhossein, Dipanjan Pan


Reversible switching of photoluminescence (PL) of carbon nanoparticles (CNP) can be achieved with counterionic macromolecular caging and decaging at the nanoscale. A negatively charged uncoated, “bare” CNP with high luminescence loses its PL when positively charged macromolecules are wrapped around its surface. Prepared caged carbons could regain their emission only through interaction with anionic surfactant molecules, representing anionic amphiphiles of endocytic membranes. This process could be verified by gel electrophoresis, spectroscopically and in vitro confocal imaging studies. Results indicated for the first time that luminescence switchable CNPs can be synthesized for efficient intracellular tracking. This study further supports the origin of photoluminescence in CNP as a surface phenomenon correlated a function of characteristic charged macromolecules.

Source: Journal of the American Chemical Society; 2017, 139 (5): 1746