Due to their small size and unique optical properties, nanoparticles are commonly used to image nanoscale features of inorganic and biological substances. Including the components of cells, structure of tissues, and the transport of molecules. Imaging reagents typically include a reporter which allows the label to be detected and a targeting surface that directs the label to the target. Ideally, the labeling is sensitive and specific so that a complete and accurate visualization of the investigated structure can be obtained.
Plasmonic nanoparticles can be engineered to have very high scattering cross sections that allow sub-100 nm diameter particles to be easily detected with a standard dark field microscope. Multiplexed imaging is accomplished by using plasmonic nanoparticles with different colors due to their material, size and shape. Nanoparticles can also be fluorescently labelled and this fluorescence can be enhanced by using a plasmonic particle that functions as a nanoscale antenna for increasing the fluorescent brightness. Many other nanoparticle imaging formats are also utilized, including Raman labels that provide a unique fingerprint for highly multiplexed imaging applications and magnetic nanoparticles that have high contrast for MRI scans.
NanoComposix has the world’s largest library of plasmonic nanoparticles that can all be functionalized with targeting ligands to function as ultra-bright dark field labels, surface enhanced Raman scatterers, or as an antenna for surface enhanced fluorescent spectroscopy. We also integrate other fluorescent entities into more complex nanocomposite structures including quantum dots, fluorescent polymers, and rare earth fluorophores. Our lateral flow projects use a variety of plasmonic nanoparticles as high contrast absorbers to produce colored lines on test strips. Targeting of all of our materials is accomplished through antibody, DNA, or aptamer binding on the particle surface.