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Organic Fluorescent Dye-based Nanomaterials: Advances In The Rational Design For Imaging And Sensing Applications

Denis Svechkarev, Aaron M. Mohs

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Self-assembled fluorescent nanomaterials based on small-molecule organic dyes are gaining increasing popularity in imaging and sensing applications over the past decade. This is primarily due to their ability to combine spectral properties tunability and biocompatibility of small molecule organic fluorophores with brightness, chemical and colloidal stability of inorganic materials. Such a unique combination of features comes with rich versatility of dye-based nanomaterials: from aggregates of small molecules to sophisticated core-shell nanoarchitectures involving hyperbranched polymers. Along with the ongoing discovery of new materials and better ways of their synthesis, it is very important to continue systematic studies of fundamental factors that regulate the key properties of fluorescent nanomaterials: their size, polydispersity, colloidal stability, chemical stability, absorption and emission maxima, biocompatibility, and interactions with biological interfaces. In this review, we focus on the systematic description of various types of organic fluorescent nanomaterials, approaches to their synthesis, and ways to optimize and control their characteristics. The discussion is built on examples from reports on recent advances in the design and applications of such materials. Conclusions made from this analysis allow a perspective on future development of fluorescent nanomaterials design for biomedical and related applications.