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Mass production and dynamic imaging of fluorescent nanodiamonds


Fluorescent nanodiamond is a new nanomaterial that possesses several useful properties, including good biocompatibility1, excellent photostability1,2 and facile surface functionalizability2,3. Moreover, when excited by a laser, defect centres within the nanodiamond emit photons that are capable of penetrating tissue, making them well suited for biological imaging applications1,2,4. Here, we show that bright fluorescent nanodiamonds can be produced in large quantities by irradiating synthetic diamond nanocrystallites with helium ions. The fluorescence is sufficiently bright and stable to allow three-dimensional tracking of a single particle within the cell by means of either one- or two-photon-excited fluorescence microscopy. The excellent photophysical characteristics are maintained for particles as small as 25 nm, suggesting that fluorescent nanodiamond is an ideal probe for long-term tracking and imaging in vivo, with good temporal and spatial resolution.

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Figure 1: Characterization of FNDs.
Figure 2: Two-photon excited fluorescence of FNDs.
Figure 3: One-photon and two-photon excited fluorescence images of 140-nm FNDs in a fixed HeLa cell.
Figure 4: Three-dimensional tracking of a single 35-nm FND in a live HeLa cell.

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This work was supported by the Academia Sinica and the National Science Council (grant no. NSC 96-2120-M-001-008 and NSC-95-2120-M-002-003) of Taiwan, ROC.

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Authors and Affiliations



H.-C.C. and W.F. conceived and designed the experiments. Y.-R.C., H.-Y.L., K.C., C.-C.C., D.-S.T., C.-C.F., T.-S.L., Y.-K.T. and C.-Y.F. performed the experiments. Y.-R.C., H.-Y.L., C.-Y.F., H.-C.C. and W.F. analysed the data. C.-C.H. contributed materials and analysis tools. Y.-R.C., H.-C.C. and W.F. co-wrote the paper. Y.-K.T. and C.-Y.F. are responsible for mass production, H.-Y.L. and C.-C.C. are responsible for two-photon imaging, Y.-R.C., C.-C.F., D.-S.T. and K.C. are responsible for three-dimensional tracking of FNDs.

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Correspondence to Huan-Cheng Chang or Wunshain Fann.

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Chang, YR., Lee, HY., Chen, K. et al. Mass production and dynamic imaging of fluorescent nanodiamonds. Nature Nanotech 3, 284–288 (2008).

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