During the last decade, conjugated polymers have emerged as an interesting class of fluorescence imaging probes since they generally show high fluorescence brightness, high photostability, fast emission rates, non-blinking behavior and low cytotoxicity. The main concern related to most conjugated polymers is their lack of hydrophilicity and thereby poor bio-availability. This can, however, be overcome by the formulation of conjugated polymer nanoparticles in aqueous medium. This review provides an overview of the different techniques employed for the preparation of conjugated polymer nanoparticles, together with methods to improve their photoluminescence quantum yields. For selective targeting of specific cells, dedicated surface functionalization protocols have been developed, using different functional groups for ligand immobilization. Finally, conjugated polymer nanoparticles have recently also been employed for theranostic applications, wherein the particles are simultaneously used as fluorescent probes and carriers for anti-tumor drugs.
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