, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 529-542

Progress in Lanthanides as Luminescent Probes

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Lanthanides have recently found applications in different fields of biomolecular and medical research. Luminescent lanthanide chelates have created interest mainly due to their unique luminescent properties, such as their long Stokes’ shift and exceptional decay times allowing efficient temporal discrimination of background interferences in the assays, such as immunoassays. Recently, new organometallic complexes have been developed giving opportunities to novel applications, in heterogeneous and homogeneous immunoassays, DNA hybridization assays, high-throughput screening as well as in imaging. In addition, encapsulating the chelates into suitable matrix in beads enables the use of new members of lanthanides extending the emission wavelength to micrometer range and decays from a few microseconds to milliseconds. As the luminescence is derived from complicated intrachelate energy transfer, it also gives novel opportunities to exploit these levels in different types of energy transfer based applications. This review gives a short overview of recent development of lanthanide chelate-labels and discusses in more details of energy levels and their exploitation in new assay formats.