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Protein Stabilized Au Nanoclusters: Spectral Properties And Photostability

Vilius Poderys, Marija Matulionytė-Safinė, Dainius Rupšys, Ričardas Rotomskis

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Bovine serum albumin stabilized gold nanoclusters (BSA-Au nanoclusters) have been widely studied due to their possible applications in biomedicine as sensors, fluorescent or multi-modality markers, and therapeutic agents. Synthesis and optical properties of these nanoclusters have been extensively investigated; however, there is still very little data on photostability of BSA-Au nanoclusters. Photostability of BSA-Au nanoclusters is of major importance for a variety of applications, such as material sensing and fluorescence imaging. Herein we demonstrate that after synthesis the BSA-Au solution has two photoluminescence (PL) bands peaking at 468 and 660 nm. Nevertheless, a different behaviour of the PL bands at 468 and 660 nm upon irradiation indicates that only band at 660 nm is related to PL of Au nanoclusters. BSA-Au nanoclusters exhibit great colloidal stability and do not undergo irreversible changes when heated up to 65 °C. However, irradiation of BSA-Au nanoclusters causes a wavelength dependent decrease of intensity and a hypsochromic shift of the PL band at 660 nm which is proportional to the delivered dose. The shift of the PL band at 660 nm could occur due to loss of several gold atoms in Au nanoclusters and/or due to deterioration of a nanoparticle coating layer. We have also demonstrated that the photostability of BSA-Au nanoclusters increases in the cell growth medium.