Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


BC scientists coax gold particles to emit light strong enough to view single nanoparticles


Findings have implications for tracking disease, drugs at the molecular level

Researchers in the laboratory of Boston College Chemistry Professor John T. Fourkas have demonstrated that gold particles comparable in size to a molecule can be induced to emit light so strongly that it is readily possible to observe a single nanoparticle. Fourkas, in collaboration with postdoctoral researcher Richard Farrer and BC undergraduates Francis Butterfield and Vincent Chen, coaxed the particles into strong emission of visible light using a technique called multiphoton absorption induced luminescence (MAIL).
The most efficient gold nanoparticles could be observed at laser intensities lower than those commonly used for multiphoton imaging, in which specific tissues or cells -- cancer cells, for example -- are fluorescently-labeled using special stains that enable them to be studied. "One of the most exciting aspects of this technique is that it paves the way for being able to observe behavior in living tissues at the single molecule level," said Fourkas. "The fluorescent molecules commonly used in multiphoton imaging give out only a limited amount of light, ’burn out’ quickly under continuous observation, and are prone to blinking on and off.

"The gold particles, however, do not blink or burn out, even after hours of observation, and the brightest ones emit much more light than do molecules," he said. "We now have the ability to see single nanoparticles under conditions where people usually look at thousands or millions of stain molecules. This could allow us, for instance, to track a single molecule of a drug in a cell or other biological sample."

Other advantages of the technique are that the gold particles can be prepared easily, have very low toxicity, and can readily be attached to molecules of biological interest, said Fourkas. In addition, the laser light used to visualize the particles is at a wavelength range that causes only minimal damage to most biological tissue.

The findings will be published in the June issue of Nano Letters.

Patricia Delaney | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht ‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht Calcium Induces Chronic Lung Infections
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>