Fluorophore molecules can be monitored by fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy, which are highly useful and widely used techniques in cell biology, biochemistry, and medicine (e.g., biomarker analysis, immunoassays, cancer diagnosis). Several fluorescent micro- and nanoparticle systems based on block copolymer micelles and cross-linked polymer networks, quantum dots, π-conjugated polymers, and dendrimers have been evaluated as optical imaging systems. In this review, we highlight recent advances in the construction of fluorescent single-chain nanoparticles (SCNPs), which are valuable artificial soft nano-objects with a small tunable size (as small as 3 nm). In particular, the main methods currently available to endow SCNPs with fluorescent properties are discussed in detail, showing illustrative examples.
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