A new class of phosphorescent nanoparticles has been developed that use halogen-containing polymers and copolymers to encapsulate phosphorescent molecules. Their strong phosphorescence of long lifetime and large Stoke shift are not subject to oxygen quenching under ambient conditions due to the low oxygen permeability of the encapsulation matrix. The cross-linked phosphorescent particles are very stable and easily re-suspendable in aqueous media with surface functional groups to allow covalent tagging of biological recognition molecules such as antibodies. The conjugates can be used to provide very sensitive detection of analytes through time-resolved phosphorescence measurements. In addition to their applications for solution-based biological assays, those particles have also been demonstrated to be very useful for dry-chemistry-based time-resolved luminescent lateral flow assays.