Multitasking nanoparticles for intracellular imaging and biosensing
The goal of this project is to develop novel functional nanoparticles as advanced tools for
intracellular imaging and biosensing. The design of these nanoparticles involves the use of
semiconductor nanocrystals, or quantum dots (QDs), as bright and stable luminescent markers
encapsulated in a protective silica matrix. These QD@SiO2 nanoparticles are further functionalized with plasmonic nanocrystals, such as gold or silver nanocrystals, which offer new strategies for thermally induced endosomal escape of the nanoparticles. Once the nanoparticles have reached the cytosol of cells, the targeting and imaging of specific subcellular structures is achieved thanks to proper surface functionalizations of the silica nanoparticles. In addition, the plasmonic nanocrystals also allow the surface enhanced Raman scattering analysis of these structures.
Finally, for a higher control on the use of such nano-biosensors, optical tweezers are used to purposefully manipulate and position the nanoparticles respectively to or even inside the cells.
Besides their application in cell labeling and biosensing, these functional nanoparticles have tremendous potential applications in the fields of theranostics, nanomedicine and
nanobiophotonics. Thus, through the synthesis and characterization of novel materials and their application to biotechnology, this project is a multidisciplinary research and training project at the interface between physics, chemistry and biology.