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Sorting fluorescent nanocrystals with DNA

  • Author(s): Gerion, Daniele
  • Parak, Wolfgang J.
  • Williams, Shara C.
  • Zanchet, Daniela
  • Micheel, Christine M.
  • Alivisatos, A. Paul
  • et al.
Abstract

Semiconductor nanocrystals with narrow and tunable fluorescence are covalently linked to oligonucleotides. These biocompounds retain the properties of both nanocrystals and DNA. Therefore, different sequences of DNA can be coded with nanocrystals and still preserve their ability to hybridize to their complements. We report the case where four different sequences of DNA are linked to four nanocrystal samples having different colors of emission in the range of 530-640 nm. When the DNA-nanocrystal conjugates are mixed together, it is possible to sort each type of nanoparticle using hybridization on a defined micrometer -size surface containing the complementary oligonucleotide. Detection of sorting requires only a single excitation source and an epifluorescence microscope. The possibility of directing fluorescent nanocrystals towards specific biological targets and detecting them, combined with their superior photo-stability compared to organic dyes, opens the way to improved biolabeling experiments, such as gene mapping on a nanometer scale or multicolor microarray analysis.

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