Biofunctionalization, cytotoxicity, and cell uptake of lanthanide doped hydrophobically ligated NaYF4 upconversion nanophosphors

Jingning Shan, Jianbo Chen, Juan Meng, Josh Collins, Wole Soboyejo, Joseph S. Friedberg, Yiguang Ju

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Surface biofunctionalization of the hydrophobic lanthanide ion doped hexagonal phase NaYF4:Yb,Er upconversion nanophosphors (UCNPs) was achieved by introducing amino and carboxyl groups, respectively. Amino groups were added by using the 3-aminopropyltrimethoxysilane reaction after a thin layer of SiO2 coating. The carboxyl groups on surface were added directly by coating modified amphiphilic polyacrylic acid polymer. Experimental studies of cytotoxicity and cell uptake of UCNPs were conducted. The cytotoxicity analysis of the functionalized UCNPs was conducted by methylthiazol tetrazolium assays. Cell uptake was accomplished by incubating the UCNPs with human osteosarcoma cells and proved by transmission electron microscopy. The results showed that the functionalized UCNPs had very low toxicity compared with the control group, while UCNPs taken into the cells indicated that they had very high biocompatibility. The imaging of UCNPs, which were incubated with AB12 mouse mesothelioma cells and excited by 1 W 980 nm light, showed individual particles with visible light emission. These results exhibited promising applications of functionalized UCNPs in cell imaging and photodynamic therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number094308
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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