Engineering Red-Enhanced and Biocompatible Upconversion Nanoparticles
The exceptional optical properties of lanthanide-doped upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) make them among the best fluorescent markers for many promising bioapplications. To fully utilize the unique advantages of the UCNPs for bioapplications, recent significant efforts have been put into improving the brightness of small UCNPs crystals by optimizing dopant concentrations and utilizing the addition of inert shells to avoid surface quenching effects. In this work, we engineered bright and small size upconversion nanoparticles in a core&ndash;shell&ndash;shell (CSS) structure. The emission of the synthesized CSS UCNPs is enhanced in the biological transparency window under biocompatible excitation wavelength by optimizing dopant ion concentrations. We also investigated the biosafety of the synthesized CSS UCNP particles in living cell models to ensure bright and non-toxic fluorescent probes for promising bioapplications.