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Preparation of Novel Fluorescent Nanocomposites Based on Au Nanoclusters and Their Application in Targeted Detection of Cancer Cells

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journal contribution
posted on 04.12.2017, 00:00 by Xiaoyu Wang, Junhan Xia, Chun Wang, Lu Liu, Shuxian Zhu, Wei Feng, Lidong Li
Fluorescent gold nanoclusters (AuNCs) have drawn considerable research interest owing to their unique emission properties. However, the environment surrounding the NC greatly influences its luminous behavior. In this work, a novel nanocomposite based on AuNCs with bright fluorescence and high biocompatibility was prepared. In this nanocomposite, mesoporous silica nanospheres provided a mesoporous framework, which helped to template the formation of ultrasmall AuNCs and also prevented their aggregation in different solutions. These nanocomposites emitted stable fluorescence even in complex biological environments. After the self-assembly of folic acid-conjugated poly­(l-lysine), the presence of folic acid on the nanocomposites guaranteed a good recognition in folate receptor (FR)-positive cells, improving detection selectivity. Cellular experiments demonstrated that the nanocomposites had good dispersity in the physiological environment and could be internalized by FR-positive cancer cells, resulting in bright fluorescence. We believe that this research provides a simple approach to the fabrication of stable fluorescent AuNC nanocomposites, which show good compatibility with complex biological systems and great potential for applications in biological imaging and cell detection.