Thermometry at the nanoscale
In response to the need of real-time non-contact thermometry with submicron resolution and high sensitivity readout in Nanotechnology in general and NanoBioMedicine in particular, the group has developed a new technology based on the use of luminescence nanosensors and a fluorescence detection instrument. The nanoprobes consist of ad hoc designed copolymers bearing lanthanide luminescence complexes. The detection instrument consist of a fluorescence microscope coupled to a beam splitter, a CMOS camera and a software that transform the emission of the nanosensors into temperature images in real time. This system is able to map the temperature in the interior of cells and the local temperature of nanoheaters coated with the designed copolymers. The instrument is actually used in studies of mitochondria activity, and local hyperthermia therapy. Moreover, the group has also developed an alternative temperature scanning method using similar molecular temperature sensors and a double optical fibber probe to determine the temperature on surfaces (i.e. chips). The molecular thermometers are spread on the surface as paint or as self-assembled monolayer.