Nanodiamonds as Intracellular Probes for Imaging in Biology and Medicine

  • Jitka Slegerova
  • Ivan Rehor
  • Jan Havlik
  • Helena Raabova
  • Eva Muchova
  • Petr CiglerEmail author
Part of the Fundamental Biomedical Technologies book series (FBMT, volume 7)


In recent years, diamond nanoparticles have received a great deal of attention due to their unique photophysical and biological properties. Nanodiamonds (NDs) show low toxicity and are considered to be a highly biocompatible carbon nanomaterial useful in a wide range of applications. Thanks to their ability to accommodate nitrogen-vacancy (N-V) color centers, NDs are a prime example of non-photobleachable fluorescent labels and nanosensors. Here, we present a survey of ND applications in biology and medicine with an emphasis on bio-imaging. We focus on distinguishing the properties of detonation NDs and high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) NDs and describing their physicochemical properties, structure and possible modifications by small molecules and biomolecules. We summarize and critically evaluate in vitro and in vivo data on ND toxicity and biocompatibility, cellular internalization, localization and targeting by surface-attached ligands. We discuss current achievements in bioimaging using fluorescent NDs and the potential of NDs in diagnostics and drug delivery.


Nanodiamond Fluorescence Nitrogen-vacancy center Intracellular probe Bioimaging Biocompatibility Targeting Cellular internalization Drug delivery 



Atom-transfer radical-polymerization


Chemical vapor deposition


Detonation nanodiamond


Doxorubicin hydrochloride


Electron spin resonance


Fluorescent nanodiamond


Growth hormone


Growth hormone receptor




High-pressure high-temperature


3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide


Multi-walled carbon nanotubes




Nanodiamond conjugated with folic acid


Nanodiamond conjugated with chlorotoxin

N-V center

Nitrogen-vacancy center






Single-walled carbon nanotubes


Targeted epirubicin-loaded DNDs


Zero phonon line



The work was supported by GACR project P108/12/0640 and MSMT CR grant No. LH11027.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jitka Slegerova
    • 1
  • Ivan Rehor
    • 1
  • Jan Havlik
    • 1
  • Helena Raabova
    • 1
  • Eva Muchova
    • 1
  • Petr Cigler
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratory of Synthetic NanochemistryInstitute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry AS CR v. v. i.Prague 6Czech Republic

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