Iridium nanoparticles for multichannel luminescence lifetime imaging, mapping localization in live cancer cells

Siobhan M King, Sunil Claire, Rodolfo I Teixeira, Abiola N Dosumu, Andrew J Carrod, Hamid Dehghani, Michael J Hannon, Andrew D Ward, Roy Bicknell, Stanley W Botchway, Nikolas J Hodges, Zoe Pikramenou

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The development of long-lived luminescent nanoparticles for lifetime imaging is of wide interest as luminescence lifetime is environmentally sensitive detection independent of probe concentration. We report novel iridium-coated gold nanoparticles as probes for multiphoton lifetime imaging with characteristic long luminescent lifetimes based on iridium luminescence in the range of hundreds of nanoseconds and a short signal on the scale of picoseconds based on gold allowing multichannel detection. The tailor-made IrC6 complex forms stable, water-soluble gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) of 13, 25, and 100 nm, bearing 1400, 3200, and 22 000 IrC6 complexes per AuNP, respectively. The sensitivity of the iridium signal on the environment of the cell is evidenced with an observed variation of lifetimes. Clusters of iridium nanoparticles show lifetimes from 450 to 590 ns while lifetimes of 660 and 740 ns are an average of different points in the cytoplasm and nucleus. Independent luminescence lifetime studies of the nanoparticles in different media and under aggregation conditions postulate that the unusual long lifetimes observed can be attributed to interaction with proteins rather than nanoparticle aggregation. Total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy (TIRF), confocal microscopy studies and 3D luminescence lifetime stacks confirm the presence of bright, nonaggregated nanoparticles inside the cell. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS) analysis further supports the presence of the nanoparticles in cells. The iridium-coated nanoparticles provide new nanoprobes for lifetime detection with dual channel monitoring. The combination of the sensitivity of the iridium signal to the cell environment together with the nanoscaffold to guide delivery offer opportunities for iridium nanoparticles for targeting and tracking in in vivo models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10242-10249
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number32
Early online date21 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2018


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