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Novel use of silicon nanocrystals and nanodiamonds in biology

Anna Fucikova, Jan Valenta, Ivan Pelant, and Vitezslav Brezina

Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University, Ke Karlovu 3, 121 16 Prague 2, Czech Republic



Received: 11 November 2008  Revised: 20 May 2009  Accepted: 21 May 2009

Abstract: The presented work is aimed at the development of nontoxic nanocrystalline silicon fluorescence labels, biodegradable in living body and long-term stable, and of fluorescent nanodiamonds mainly for in vitro use. These novel fluorescence labels could be very good substitutes for commercially used quantum dots (e.g. cadmium compound quantum dots) which can be toxic according to the latest results. In this work, manufacturing of porous nanocrystalline silicon (por-Si) is described, several basic optical properties of por-Si are presented and the influence of Si nanocrystals, nanodiamonds, and milled silicon on the growth of a cell culture of L929 mouse fibroblast and HeLa cells is compared. Bio-interaction of nanoparticles was studied by optical transmission microscopy, time-lapse microphotography of cell culture evolution, fluorescence microscopy, fluorescence microspectroscopy, and scanning electron microscopy. The size and shape of nanocrystals were determined using atomic force microscopy (AFM).

Keywords: silicon nanocrystals - nanodiamonds - biocompatibility - quantum dot - fluorescence label - micro-spectroscopy

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-009-0075-x


Chemical Papers 63 (6) 704–708 (2009)

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