The design and application of fluorophore-gold nanoparticle activatable probes

Magdalena Swierczewska, Seulki Lee, Xiaoyuan Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


Fluorescence-based assays and detection techniques are among the most highly sensitive and popular biological tests for researchers. To match the needs of research and the clinic, detection limits and specificities need to improve, however. One mechanism is to decrease non-specific background signals, which is most efficiently done by increasing fluorescence quenching abilities. Reports in the literature of theoretical and experimental work have shown that metallic gold surfaces and nanoparticles are ultra-efficient fluorescence quenchers. Based on these findings, subsequent reports have described gold nanoparticle fluorescence-based activatable probes that were designed to increase fluorescence intensity based on a range of stimuli. In this way, these probes can detect and signify assorted biomarkers and changes in environmental conditions. In this review, we explore the various factors and theoretical models that affect gold nanoparticle fluorescence quenching, explore current uses of activatable probes, and propose an engineering approach for future development of fluorescence based gold nanoparticle activatable probes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9929-9941
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number21
StatePublished - Jun 7 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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