GNPs have a well-known effect on nearby fluorophores in terms of their fluorescence intensity (FI – increase or decrease) as well as fluorescence lifetime (FLT). We have designed a few bio-switch systems in which the FLIMdetected fluorescence varies after biologically relevant stimulation. Some of our tools include fluorescein diacetate (FDA) which can be activated by either esterases or pH, peptide chains cleavable by caspase 3, and the polymer polyacrylic acid which varies in size based on surrounding pH. After conjugating GNPs to chosen fluorophores, we have successfully demonstrated the logic gates of NOT, AND, OR, NAND, NOR, and XOR by imaging different stages of activation. These logic gates have been demonstrated both in solutions as well as within cultured cells, thereby possibly opening the door for nanoparticulate in vivo smart detection.
While these initial probes are mainly tools for intelligent detection systems, they lay the foundation for logic gates functioning in conjunction so as to lead to a form of in vivo biological computing, where the system would be able to release proper treatment options in specific situations without external influence.