Nanodiamonds contain stable fluorescent emitters and hence can be used for molecular fluorescence imaging and precision sensing of electromagnetic fields. The physical properties of these emitters together with their low reported cytotoxicity make them attractive for biological imaging applications. The controlled application of nanodiamonds for cellular imaging requires detailed understanding of surface chemistry, size ranges and aggregation, as these can all influence cellular interactions. We compared these characteristics for graphitic and oxidized nanodiamonds. Oxidation is generally used for surface functionalization, and was optimized by Thermogravimetric Analysis, achieved by 445±5°C heating in air for 5 hours, then confirmed via Raman and Infrared spectroscopies. Size ranges and aggregation were assessed using Atomic Force Microscopy and Dynamic Light Scattering. Biocompatibility in breast cancer cell lines was measured using a proliferation assay. Heating at 445±5°C reduced the Raman signal of graphitic carbon (1575 cm-1) as compared to that of diamond (1332 cm-1) from 0.31±0.07 Raman intensity units to 0.07±0.04. This temperature was substantially below the onset of major mass loss (observed at 535±1°C) and therefore achieved cost efficiency, convenience and high yield. Graphitic and oxidized nanodiamonds formed aggregates in water, with a mean particle size of 192±4nm and 166±2nm at a concentration of 66μg/mL. We then applied the graphitic and oxidized nanodiamonds to cells in culture at 1μg/mL and found no significant change in the proliferation rate (-5±2% and -1±3% respectively). Nanodiamonds may therefore be suitable for development as a novel transformative tool in the life sciences.
Ben J. Woodhams, Helena S. Knowles, Dhiren M. Kara, Mete Atatüre, and Sarah E. Bohndiek, "Nanodiamond preparation and surface characterization for biological applications," Proc. SPIE 10079, Reporters, Markers, Dyes, Nanoparticles, and Molecular Probes for Biomedical Applications IX, 100790C (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 30, 2017; Published: 21 February 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2252892.
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