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Perylene-Labeled Silica Nanoparticles: Synthesis and Characterization of Three Novel Silica Nanoparticle Species for Live-Cell Imaging



The increasing exposure of humans to nanoscaled particles requires well-defined systems that enable the investigation of the toxicity of nanoparticles on the cellular level. To facilitate this, surface-labeled silica nanoparticles, nanoparticles with a labeled core and a silica shell, and a labeled nanoparticle network—all designed for live-cell imaging—are synthesized. The nanoparticles are functionalized with perylene derivatives. For this purpose, two different perylene species containing one or two reactive silica functionalities are prepared. The nanoparticles are studied by transmission electron microscopy, widefield and confocal fluorescence microscopy, as well as by fluorescence spectroscopy in combination with fluorescence anisotropy, in order to characterize the size and morphology of the nanoparticles and to prove the success and homogeneity of the labeling. Using spinning-disc confocal measurements, silica nanoparticles are demonstrated to be taken up by HeLa cells, and they are clearly detectable inside the cytoplasm of the cells.