Thermometry at the nanoscale

Nanoscale. 2012 Aug 21;4(16):4799-829. doi: 10.1039/c2nr30663h. Epub 2012 Jul 4.


Non-invasive precise thermometers working at the nanoscale with high spatial resolution, where the conventional methods are ineffective, have emerged over the last couple of years as a very active field of research. This has been strongly stimulated by the numerous challenging requests arising from nanotechnology and biomedicine. This critical review offers a general overview of recent examples of luminescent and non-luminescent thermometers working at nanometric scale. Luminescent thermometers encompass organic dyes, QDs and Ln(3+)ions as thermal probes, as well as more complex thermometric systems formed by polymer and organic-inorganic hybrid matrices encapsulating these emitting centres. Non-luminescent thermometers comprise of scanning thermal microscopy, nanolithography thermometry, carbon nanotube thermometry and biomaterials thermometry. Emphasis has been put on ratiometric examples reporting spatial resolution lower than 1 micron, as, for instance, intracellular thermometers based on organic dyes, thermoresponsive polymers, mesoporous silica NPs, QDs, and Ln(3+)-based up-converting NPs and β-diketonate complexes. Finally, we discuss the challenges and opportunities in the development for highly sensitive ratiometric thermometers operating at the physiological temperature range with submicron spatial resolution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't