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Fluorophore-mediated, molecular sensing is one of the most popular and important technique in biomedical studies. As in any sensing technique, the two most important factors in this sensing are the sensitivity and specificity. Since the fluorescence of a fluorophore is emitted in the process of fluorophore electrons returning from their excited to ground state, a tool that can locally manipulate the electron state can be useful to maximize the sensitivity and specificity. A good tool candidate for this purpose is nanosized metal particles that can form an electromagnetic (EM) field at a sufficiently strong level, upon receiving a particular wavelength that fits the excitation wavelength of the fluorophore to be used. There are several metal nanoparticle types that can generate a sufficiently strong EM field for this purpose. Nevertheless, for the biomedical studies, which require minimal toxicity, gold nanoparticles (GNPs) are known to be the most suitable. In this article, various methods for fluorescence alteration using GNPs, which can be beneficially utilized for biomarker-specific, highly sensitive molecular sensing and imaging, are discussed.

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Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.