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The development of up-converting phosphor reporter particles has added a powerful tool to modern detection technologies. Carefully constructed phosphor reporters have core-shell structures with surface functional groups suitable for standard bio-conjugations. These reporters are chemically stable, possess the unique property of infrared up-conversion, and are readily detected. In contrast to conventional fluorescent reporters, up-converting phosphor particles do not bleach and allow permanent excitation with simultaneous signal integration. A large anti-Stokes shift (up to 500 nm) separates discrete emission peaks from the infrared excitation source. Along with the unmatched contrast in biological specimens due to the absence of autofluorescence upon infrared excitation, up-converting phosphor technology (UPT) has unique properties for highly-sensitive particle-based assays. The production and characteristics of UPT reporter particles as well as their application in various bioassays is reviewed.
Date of Publication: 8 April 2005