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Photoluminescent ZnO Nanoparticles and Their Biological Applications

Department of Chemistry, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
School of Management Science & Engineering, Nanjing University of Finance & Economics, Nanjing 210023, Jiangsu, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Dirk Poelman
Materials 2015, 8(6), 3101-3127;
Received: 29 March 2015 / Accepted: 25 May 2015 / Published: 29 May 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Luminescent Materials and Devices)
PDF [2085 KB, uploaded 29 May 2015]


During the past decades, numerous achievements concerning luminescent zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) have been reported due to their improved luminescence and good biocompatibility. The photoluminescence of ZnO NPs usually contains two parts, the exciton-related ultraviolet (UV) emission and the defect-related visible emission. With respect to the visible emission, many routes have been developed to synthesize and functionalize ZnO NPs for the applications in detecting metal ions and biomolecules, biological fluorescence imaging, nonlinear multiphoton imaging, and fluorescence lifetime imaging. As the biological applications of ZnO NPs develop rapidly, the toxicity of ZnO NPs has attracted more and more attention because ZnO can produce the reactive oxygen species (ROS) and release Zn2+ ions. Just as a coin has two sides, both the drug delivery and the antibacterial effects of ZnO NPs become attractive at the same time. Hence, in this review, we will focus on the progress in the synthetic methods, luminescent properties, and biological applications of ZnO NPs. View Full-Text
Keywords: ZnO; luminescence; cell imaging; antibacterial; drug delivery ZnO; luminescence; cell imaging; antibacterial; drug delivery

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Zhang, Z.-Y.; Xiong, H.-M. Photoluminescent ZnO Nanoparticles and Their Biological Applications. Materials 2015, 8, 3101-3127.

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