Silica encapsulation of luminescent silicon nanoparticles: stable and biocompatible nanohybrids
This article presents a process for surface coating and functionalization of luminescent silicon nanoparticles. The particles were coated with silica using a microemulsion process that was adapted to the fragile silicon nanoparticles. The as-produced core–shell particles have a mean diameter of 35 nm and exhibit the intrinsic photoluminescence of the silicon core. The silica layer protects the core from aqueous oxidation for several days, thus allowing the use of the nanoparticles for biological applications. The nanoparticles were further coated with amines and functionalized with polyethylene glycol chains and the toxicity of the particles has been evaluated at the different stages of the process. The core–shell nanoparticles exhibit no acute toxicity towards lung cells, which is promising for further development.
KeywordsNanoparticles Functionalization Sol–gel Toxicity Bio-imaging Biotechnology
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