WG2 - Surface functionalization

Developing and exchanging standardised protocols for the surface functionalization of UCNMs to yield stable suspensions that do not aggregate and can be conjugated to various ligands for binding to target molecules

The major objectives for the surface functionalization working group are the following :


  • Using UCNMs for biosensing requires their solubility within a large concentration range in aqueous media (biological “solvents”).
  • Surface coatings and functionalization must be designed and characterized to yield a maximum dispersibility for biofunctionalization as well as in their bioconjugated form.


  • The application of UCNMs in-vivo, in cells, in body fluids, and in biological buffers requires stable and reproducible surface coatings and functionalization.
  • Minimum toxicity and maximum biofunctionality (minimum interference of UCNM with the biomolecule) are required.


  • UCNM surfaces must be functionalized to be accessible for the conjugation of various biomolecules (e.g., proteins, antibodies, peptides, DNA, RNA).
  • Surface functions must be designed for a maximum versatility of bioconjugation using the most common bioconjugation approaches (Hermanson – Bioconjugate Techniques, ISBN: 978-0-12-382239-0) for both random and orthogonal bioconjugation.

Long-term stability

  • The development of biosensors or diagnostic kits requires long term stability for both storage and inside the biological systems to be investigated.
  • Surface coatings and functionalization must be designed to provide both material stability that prevents degradation during the actual biosensing and material stability that allows for simple and long-trem storage of UNCM bioconjugates.


Niko HILDEBRANDT (PhD, Professor)

NanoBioPhotonics (nanofret.com)

Institut d'Electronique Fondamentale (IEF) / Institut of Integrative Biology of the Cell (I2BC)

Université Paris-Sud / CNRS / CEA

91405 Orsay Cedex - FRANCE

Tel:+33 1 69 15 55 81


The working group achievements :


  1. D. Lisjak, O. Plohl, J. Vidmar, B. Majaron, M. Ponikvar-Svet. Dissolution Mechanism of Upconverting AYF4:Yb,Tm (A = Na or K) Nanoparticles in Aqueous Media. Langmuir 2016, 32, 8222-82229.
  2. D. Lisjak, O. Plohl, H. Macut, B. Majaron, E. Fröhlich, M. Ponikvar-Svet. Protection of upconverting nanoparticles against the dissolution in aqueous media with PMAO-BHMT coating. presented at Conference Slovenski kemijski dnevi, Sept. 2016, Portorož, Slovernia.
  3. M. Sy, A. Nonat, N. Hildebrandt, L.J. Charbonnière. Lanthanide-based luminescent biolabelling. Chemical Communications 2016, 52, 5080-5095.
  4. M. Cardoso Dos Santos, N. Hildebrandt. Recent Developments in Lanthanide-to-Quantum Dot FRET Using Time-Gated Fluorescence Detection and Photon Upconversion. TrAC – Trends in Analytical Chemistry 2016, 84, 60-71.
  5. U. Kostiv, I. Kotelnikov, V. Proks, M. Šlouf, J. Kučka, H. Engstová, P. Ježek, D. Horák. RGDS- and TAT-conjugated upconversion NaYF4:Yb3+/Er3+&SiO2 nanoparticles: In vitro human epithelioid cervix carcinoma cellular uptake, imaging and targeting. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2016, 8, 20422-20431.
  6. B. del Rosal, D. H. Ortgies, N. Fernández, F. Sanz-Rodríguez, D. Jaque, E. Martín Rodríguez. Overcoming Autofluorescence: Long-Lifetime Infrared Nanoparticles for Time-Gated In Vivo Imaging" Advanced Materials 2016, DOI: 10.1002/adma.201603583.
  7. B. del Rosal, A. Pérez-Delgado, E. Carrasco, D. J. Jovanović, M. D. Dramićanin, G. Dražić, Á.J. de la Fuente, F. Sanz-Rodriguez, D. Jaque. Neodymium-Based Stoichiometric Ultrasmall Nanoparticles for Multifunctional Deep-Tissue Photothermal Therapy. Advanced Optical Materials 2016, 4(5), 782-789.
  8. D.H. Ortgies, L. de la Cueva, B. del Rosal, F. Sanz-Rodríguez, N. Fernández, M.C. Iglesias-de la Cruz, G. Salas, D. Cabrera, F.J. Teran, D. Jaque, E. Martín Rodríguez. In Vivo Deep Tissue Fluorescence and Magnetic Imaging Employing Hybrid Nanostructures. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2016, 8, 1406-1414.
  9. E.C. Ximendes, W.Q. Santos, U. Rocha, U.K. Kagola, F. Sanz-Rodríguez, N. Fernández, A.D. Gouveia-Neto, D. Bravo, A.M. Domingo, B. del Rosal, C.D.S. Brites, L.D. Carlos, D. Jaque, C. Jacinto. Unveiling in Vivo Subcutaneous Thermal Dynamics by Infrared Luminescent Nanothermometers. Nano Letters 2016, 16, 1695-1703.
  10. E.C. Ximendes, U. Rocha, C. Jacinto, K.U. Kumar, D. Bravo, F.J. López, E. Martín Rodríguez, J. García-Solé, D. Jaque. Self-monitored photothermal nanoparticles based on core–shell engineering. Nanoscale 2016, 8, 3057-3066.
  11. U. Rocha, J. Hu, E. Martín Rodríguez, A.S. Vanetsev, M. Rähn, V. Sammelselg, Y.V. Orlovskii, J. García Solé, D. Jaque, D.H. Ortgies. Subtissue Imaging and Thermal Monitoring of Gold Nanorods through Joined Encapsulation with Nd-Doped Infrared-Emitting Nanoparticles. Small 2016, 12, 5394-5400.
  12. A. Sedlmeier, A. Hlaváček, L. Birner, M.J. Mickert, V. Muhr, T. Hirsch, P.L.A.M. Corstjens, H.J. Tanke, T. Soukka, H.H. Gorris. Highly Sensitive Laser Scanning of Photon-Upconverting Nanoparticles on a Macroscopic Scale. Analytical Chemistry 2016, 88, 1835-1841.
  13. O. Plohl, M. Ponikvar-Svet, M. Kraft, S. Radunz, U. Resch-Genger, D. Lisjak. Effect of the dissolution of fluoride UCNPs on their optical properties. 1st Conference and Spring School on Properties, Design and Applications of Upconverting Nanomaterials, Wroclaw, Poland, 2016, in Conference book, A. Bednarkiewicz, H. Gorris and T. Soukka (eds.), Institute of Low temperature and Structure Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wroclaw 2016, p. 115.
  14. D. Lisjak, O. Plohl. B. Majaron, M. Ponikvar-Svet. Effect of the composition of aqueous media on the dissolution of upconverting NaYF4:Yb3+,Tm3+ nanoparticles. 1st Conference and Spring School on Properties, Design and Applications of Upconverting Nanomaterials, Wroclaw, Poland, 2016, in Conference book, A. Bednarkiewicz, H. Gorris and T. Soukka (eds.), Institute of Low temperature and Structure Research, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wroclaw 2016, p. 100.
  15. D. Lisjak, O. Plohl, B. Majaron, M. Ponikvar-Svet. Dissolution kinetics of the upconverting AYF4:Yb3+,Tm3+ (A = Na or K) nanoparticles in water. V: ISN2A 2016 proceedings book, 2nd International Symposium on Nanoparticles/Nanomaterials and Applications, 18th-21st January 2016, Caparica, Portugal, p. 116.
  16. T. Rinkel, A. Naduviledathu Raj, S. Dühnen, M. Haase. Synthesis of 10 nm β-NaYF4:Yb,Er/NaYF4 Core/Shell Upconversion Nanocrystals with 5 nm Particle Cores. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2016, 55, 1164-1167, Angewandte Chemie 2016, 128, 1177-1181.
  17. C. Drees, A. Naduviledathu Raj, R. Kurre, K. B. Busch, M. Haase, J. Piehler. Engineered Upconversion Nanoparticles for Resolving Protein Interactions inside Living Cells. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2016, 55, 11668–11672, Angewandte Chemie 2016, 128, 11840–11845.


  1. D. Lisjak, O. Plohl, M. Ponikvar-Svet, B. Majaron. Dissolution of upconverting nanoparticles in aqueous suspensions. RSC Advances 2015, 5, 27393-27397.
  2. L. Mattsson, K. D. Wegner, N. Hildebrandt, T. Soukka. Upconverting Nanoparticle to Quantum Dot FRET for Homogeneous Double-Nano Biosensors. RSC Advances 2015, 5, 13270-13277.
  3. P. Rodríguez-Sevilla, H. Rodríguez-Rodríguez, M. Pedroni, A. Speghini, M. Bettinelli, J. García Solé, D. Jaque, P. Haro-González. Assessing Single Upconverting Nanoparticle Luminescence by Optical Tweezers. Nano Letters 2015, 8, 5068-5074.
  4. U. Kostiv, O. Janoušková, M. Šlouf, N. Kotov, H. Engstová, K. Smolková, P. Ježek, D. Horák. Silica-modified monodisperse hexagonal lanthanide nanocrystals: Synthesis and biological properties. Nanoscale 2015, 7, 18096-18104.
  5. U. Kostiv, M. Šlouf, H. Macková, A. Zhigunov, H. Engstová, K. Smolková, P. Ježek, D. Horák. Silica-coated upconversion lanthanide nanoparticles: The effect of crystal design on morphology, structure and optical properties. Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology 2015, 6, 2290–2299.
  6. J. Nordmann, S. Buczka, B. Voss, M. Haase, K. Mummenhoff. In vivo analysis of the size-and the time-dependent uptake of NaYF4:Yb,Er upconversion nanocrystals by pumpkin seedlings. Journal of Material Chemistry B 2015, 3, 144-150.
  7. S. Dühnen, M. Haase. Study on the Intermixing of Core and Shell in NaEuF4/NaGdF4 Core/Shell Nanocrystals. Chemistry of Materials 2015, 27, 8375–8386.
  8. S. Dühnen, T. Rinkel, M. Haase. Size Control of Nearly Monodisperse β-NaGdF4 Particles Prepared from Small α-NaGdF4 Nanocrystals. Chemistry of Materials 2015, 27, 4033–4039.


COST Action CM1403 (2014-2018)

Chair: dr Hans Gorris (University of Regensburg, Germany)

Vice-Chair: prof.Tero Soukka (University of Turku, Finland)

COST Science Officer: Dr. Lucia Forzi (Bruseels, Belgium)

STSMs Manager: dr hab. Artur Bednarkiewicz (PAS & WCB EIT+, Poland)


info @ ucnp.eu


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