Composite nanoparticles: The best of two worlds

Colleen M. Janczak, Craig A. Aspinwall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Nanomaterials have rapidly moved into the mainstream for chemical and biological analysis. Nanoparticle probes enhance signal intensity, increase the chemical and physical stability of the probe, and facilitate surface modification for specific targeting. Unfortunately, common problems are encountered with many nanoparticle probes, e.g., poor solubility, poor biocompatibility, and leakage of encapsulated components, that severely restrict the application of probes to ex vivo samples under carefully controlled conditions. A wide range of recently developed multifunctional nanomaterials are poised to make significant contributions to molecular analysis of biological systems. Composite nanoparticle geometries, including composites, hybrids, and core-shell nanoparticles prepared using two or more materials, e.g., silica/inorganic, silica/polymer, or polymer/inorganic combinations, offer improved solubility, easier functionalization, and decreased toxicity compared with the related single-component materials. Furthermore, composite nanomaterials present substantial signal amplification, and improved multiplexing for higher-sensitivity and higher-resolution measurements. Further development and integration of composite nanomaterials into the quantitative sciences will play a key role in the future of functional probes for imaging, quantitative analysis, and biological manipulation. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-89
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical and bioanalytical chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Composite
  • Hybrid
  • Nanomaterials
  • Nanoparticles
  • Polymer
  • Silica

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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