Temperature sensing using fluorescent nanothermometers

ACS Nano. 2010 Jun 22;4(6):3254-8. doi: 10.1021/nn100244a.


Acquiring the temperature of a single living cell is not a trivial task. In this paper, we devise a novel nanothermometer, capable of accurately determining the temperature of solutions as well as biological systems such as HeLa cancer cells. The nanothermometer is based on the temperature-sensitive fluorescence of NaYF(4):Er(3+),Yb(3+) nanoparticles, where the intensity ratio of the green fluorescence bands of the Er(3+) dopant ions ((2)H(11/2) --> (4)I(15/2) and (4)S(3/2) --> (4)I(15/2)) changes with temperature. The nanothermometers were first used to obtain thermal profiles created when heating a colloidal solution of NaYF(4):Er(3+),Yb(3+) nanoparticles in water using a pump-probe experiment. Following incubation of the nanoparticles with HeLa cervical cancer cells and their subsequent uptake, the fluorescent nanothermometers measured the internal temperature of the living cell from 25 degrees C to its thermally induced death at 45 degrees C.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Nanotechnology / instrumentation*
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Thermometers*