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Methods. 2012 Feb;56(2):310-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2011.08.017. Epub 2011 Sep 1.

Optimization of immunolabeled plasmonic nanoparticles for cell surface receptor analysis.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.


Noble metal nanoparticles hold great potential as optical contrast agents due to a unique feature, known as the plasmon resonance, which produces enhanced scattering and absorption at specific frequencies. The plasmon resonance also provides a spectral tunability that is not often found in organic fluorophores or other labeling methods. The ability to functionalize these nanoparticles with antibodies has led to their development as contrast agents for molecular optical imaging. In this review article, we present methods for optimizing the spectral agility of these labels. We discuss synthesis of gold nanorods, a plasmonic nanoparticle in which the plasmonic resonance can be tuned during synthesis to provide imaging within the spectral window commonly utilized in biomedical applications. We describe recent advances in our group to functionalize gold and silver nanoparticles using distinct antibodies, including EGFR, HER-2 and IGF-1, selected for their relevance to tumor imaging. Finally, we present characterization of these nanoparticle labels to verify their spectral properties and molecular specificity.

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