A Ratiometric Sensor Using Single Chirality Near-Infrared Fluorescent Carbon Nanotubes: Application to in Vivo Monitoring

Juan P. Giraldo, Markita P. Landry, Seon Yeong Kwak, Rishabh M. Jain, Min Hao Wong, Nicole M. Iverson, Micha Ben-Naim, Michael S. Strano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Scopus citations


Advances in the separation and functionalization of single walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) by their electronic type have enabled the development of ratiometric fluorescent SWCNT sensors for the first time. Herein, single chirality SWCNT are independently functionalized to recognize either nitric oxide (NO), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), or no analyte (remaining invariant) to create optical sensor responses from the ratio of distinct emission peaks. This ratiometric approach provides a measure of analyte concentration, invariant to the absolute intensity emitted from the sensors and hence, more stable to external noise and detection geometry. Two distinct ratiometric sensors are demonstrated: one version for H2O2, the other for NO, each using 7,6 emission, and each containing an invariant 6,5 emission wavelength. To functionalize these sensors from SWCNT isolated from the gel separation technique, a method for rapid and efficient coating exchange of single chirality sodium dodecyl sulfate-SWCNT is introduced. As a proof of concept, spatial and temporal patterns of the ratio sensor response to H2O2 and, separately, NO, are monitored in leaves of living plants in real time. This ratiometric optical sensing platform can enable the detection of trace analytes in complex environments such as strongly scattering media and biological tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3973-3984
Number of pages12
Issue number32
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015



  • free radicals
  • optical nanosensors
  • reactive oxygen species
  • sensors, plant nanobionics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)

Cite this

Giraldo, J. P., Landry, M. P., Kwak, S. Y., Jain, R. M., Wong, M. H., Iverson, N. M., Ben-Naim, M., & Strano, M. S. (2015). A Ratiometric Sensor Using Single Chirality Near-Infrared Fluorescent Carbon Nanotubes: Application to in Vivo Monitoring. Small, 11(32), 3973-3984. https://doi.org/10.1002/smll.201403276