Investigation of luminescent dye-doped or rare-earth-doped monodisperse silica nanospheres for DNA microarray labelling

F. Enrichi*, R. Riccò, A. Meneghello, R. Pierobon, E. Cretaio, F. Marinello, P. Schiavuta, A. Parma, P. Riello, A. Benedetti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


DNA microarray is a high-throughput technology used for detection and quantification of nucleic acid molecules and others of biological interest. The analysis is resulting by specific hybridization between probe sequences deposited in array and a target ss-DNA usually functionalized by a luminescent dye. These organic labels have well known disadvantages like photobleaching and limited sensitivity. Therefore in this work we investigate a different strategy, based on the use of inorganic silica nanospheres incorporating standard luminescent dyes or rare earth ions. The synthesis and characterization of these biomarkers is reported and their application to the DNA microarray technology in comparison to the use of standard molecular fluorophores or commercial quantum dots is discussed. We show that dye doped silica spheres provides a significant increase of the optical emission signal with respect to the use of free dyes, while rare earth doped silica spheres allow reducing or completely avoiding the background noise. These aspects, together with their cheap and easy synthesis, stability in water, easy surface functionalization and bio-compatibility makes them very promising for present and future applications in bio-labelling and bio-imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1652-1658
Number of pages7
JournalOptical Materials
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA microarray
  • Luminescence
  • Silica nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Computer Science(all)


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