Nanoparticle sensors have been developed for real-time imaging and dynamic monitoring, both in live cells and in vivo, of molecular and ionic components, constructs, forces, and dynamics observed during biological, chemical, and physical processes. With their biocompatible small size and inert matrix, nanoparticle sensors have been successfully applied to noninvasive real-time measurements of analytes and fields in cells and in rodents, with spatial, temporal, physical, and chemical resolution. This review describes the diverse designs of nanoparticle sensors for ions and small molecules, physical fields, and biological features, as well as the characterization, properties, and applications of these nanosensors to in vitro and in vivo measurements. Their floating as well as localization abilities in biological media are captured by the acronym PEBBLE: photonic explorer for bioanalysis with biologically localized embedding.
Keywords: LSPR; MRI; Nano-sensor; ROS; SERS; chemiluminescence; fluorescence; ion; molecule.