This project aims to take advantage of polymeric nanoparticles as a tool for improving sensitivity and performance of (chemi)luminiscence based assays. For instance, highly emissive red/near-infrared (NIR) dyes and long-lifetime luminophores like Ru(II) complexes will be combined in nanoparticles for increased emission efficiencies, better discrimination from background interferences and improved photostability. These beads will be employed for labelling antibodies to be used in immunoassays. Several strategies will be explored, taking advantage of FRET processes, (chemi) luminescence of Ru(II) complexes and high emission efficiencies of red/NIR boron-dipyrromethene (BODIPY) dyes.
Additionally, the use of molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) as synthetic analogues of antibodies will be explored for the selective recognition and fluorescent indication of analytes containing carboxylic groups. The fabrication of the MIP fluorescent probes in a nanoparticle or core-shell nanoparticle form is expected to improve response time of the sensor and binding of the target analyte, and to allow ratiometric measurements or indication via energy transfer processes.
The main task will cover the synthesis of luminescent molecular probes, nanoparticles and luminescently doped nanoparticles and MIPs, with a complete physical and photophysical charaterization. These particles will be implemented in a final stage onto microarray based technologies for monitoring the presence of certain toxins and antibiotics in water and aquaculture products.