Luminescent dye-doped or rare-earth-doped monodisperse silica nanospheres as efficient labels in DNA microarrays

F. Enrichi*, R. Riccò, A. Meneghello, R. Pierobon, F. Marinello, P. Schiavuta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


Luminescent nanoparticles are gaining more and more interest in bio-labeling and bio-imaging applications, like for example DNA microarray. This is a high-throughput technology used for detection and quantification of nucleic acid molecules and other ones of biological interest. The analysis is resulting by specific hybridization between probe sequences deposited in array and a target ss-DNA usually expressed by PCR and functionalized by a fluorescent dye. These organic labels have well known disadvantages like photobleaching and limited sensitivity. Quantum dots may be used as alternatives, but they present troubles like blinking, toxicity and excitation wavelengths out of the usual range of commercial instruments, lowering their efficiency. Therefore in this work we investigate a different strategy, based on the use of inorganic silica nanospheres incorporating standard luminescent dyes or rare earth doped nanocrystals. In the first case it is possible to obtain a high luminescence emission signal, due to the high number of dye molecules that can be accommodated into each nanoparticle, reduced photobleaching and environmental protection of the dye molecules thanks to the encapsulation in the silica matrix. In the second case, rare earths exhibit narrow emission bands (easy identification), large Stokes shifts (efficient discrimination of excitation and emission) and long luminescence lifetimes (possibility to perform time-delayed analysis) which can be efficiently used for the improvement of signal to noise ratio. The synthesis and characterization of good luminescent silica spheres either by organic dye-doping or by rare-earth-doping are investigated and reported. Moreover, their application in the DNA microarray technology in comparison to the use of standard molecular fluorophores or commercial quantum dots is discussed. The cheap and easy synthesis of these luminescent particles, the stability in water, the surface functionalization and bio-compatibility makes them very promising for present and future applications in bio-labeling and bio-imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes
EventNanophotonic Materials VI - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 2 Aug 20093 Aug 2009


ConferenceNanophotonic Materials VI
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'Luminescent dye-doped or rare-earth-doped monodisperse silica nanospheres as efficient labels in DNA microarrays'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this