The aim of this chapter is to provide an overview of the available and emerging molecular diagnostic methods that take advantage of the unique nanoscale properties of nanoparticles (NPs) to increase the sensitivity, detection capabilities, ease of operation, and portability of the biodetection assemblies. The focus will be on noble metal NPs, especially gold NPs, fluorescent NPs, especially quantum dots, and magnetic NPs, the three main players in the development of probes for biological sensing. The chapter is divided into four sections: a first section covering the unique physicochemical properties of NPs of relevance for their utilization in molecular diagnostics; the second section dedicated to applications of NPs in molecular diagnostics by nucleic acid detection; and the third section with major applications of NPs in the area of immunoassays. Finally, a concluding section highlights the most promising advances in the area and presents future perspectives.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.