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Comparison of the photoluminescence properties of semiconductor quantum dots and non-blinking diamond nanoparticles. Observation of the diffusion of diamond nanoparticles in living cells.

O. Faklaris, D. Garrot, V. Joshi, J.-P. Boudou, T. Sauvage, P. Curmi and F. Treussart; J. Europ. Opt. Soc. Rap. Public. 09035 Vol 4 (2009)

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Long-term observations of photoluminescence at the single-molecule level were until recently very difficult, due to the photobleaching of organic fluorophore molecules. Although inorganic semiconductor nanocrystals can overcome this difficulty showing very low photobleaching yield, they suffer from photoblinking. A new marker has been recently introduced, relying on diamond nanoparticles containing photoluminescent color centers. In this work we compare the photoluminescence of single quantum dots (QDs) to the one of nanodiamonds containing a single-color center. Contrary to other markers, photoluminescent nanodiamonds present a perfect photostability and no photoblinking. At saturation of their excitation, nanodiamonds photoluminescence intensity is only three times smaller than the one of QDs. Moreover, the bright and stable photoluminescence of nanodiamonds allows wide field observations of single nanoparticles motion. We demonstrate the possibility of recording the trajectory of such single particle in culture cells.

arXiv:0904.2648v1 [physics.optics]
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We are grateful to Jean-Francois Roch for fruitful discussions, to Karen Perronet (Laboratoire Charles Fabry, Institut d'Optique) for the loan of the CCD array and to Halina Mozjisova for helping with the living cells preparation. This work was supported by the European Commission through the project Nano4Drugs (contract LSHB-2005-CT-019102), by Agence Nationale de la Recherche through the project NaDia (contract ANR-2007-PNANO-045), and by Ile de France Region C'Nano grant under the project Biodiam.
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