Photoluminescent biocompatible silicon nanoparticles for cancer theranostic applications



Silicon nanoparticles (SiNPs) obtained by mechanical grinding of porous silicon have been used for visualization of living cells in vitro. It was found that SiNPs could penetrate into the cells without any cytotoxic effect up to the concentration of 100 μg/ml. The cell cytoplasm was observed to be filled by SiNPs, which exhibited bright photoluminescence at 1.6 eV. SiNPs could also act as photosensitizers of the singlet oxygen generation, which could be used in the photodynamic therapy of cancer. These properties of SiNPs are discussed in view of possible applications in theranostics (both in therapy and in diagnostics). (© 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)