Microchimica Acta

, 186:353 | Cite as

Gold nanoclusters as a near-infrared fluorometric nanothermometer for living cells

  • Hailiang Zhang
  • Wenxiu Han
  • Xiaozheng Cao
  • Tang Gao
  • Ranran Jia
  • Meihui Liu
  • Wenbin ZengEmail author
Original Paper


The authors describe the syntheses and application of glutathione-capped gold nanoclusters (AuNCs) with thermoresponsive properties. The AuNCs have excitation/emission maxima at 430/610 nm and the bright redfluorescence changes along with the temperature in the range from 0 to 90 °C which covers the normal temperature range of living cells. In the range of physiological temperatures (35–42 °C), the temperature resolution is 0.73 °C. The AuNCs display excellent colloidal stability and biocompatibility. They were used for fluorometric temperature detection and imaging of hepatic stellate cells. With such attractive features, the AuNCs are quite promising luminescence nanothermometers.

Graphical abstract

Schematic presentation of the fluorescence of glutathione-capped gold nanoclusters (AuNCs) as nanothermometers in living cells. The AuNCs have excitation/emission maxima at 430/610 nm and the red fluorescence changes with temperature in a wide range of 0 to 90 °C which covers the normal temperature of living cells.


AuNCs NIR fluorescence Nanothermometer Temperature detection Cellular imaging 



The authors gratefully appreciate the support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81671756), Key Research Project of Science and Technology Foundation of Hunan Province (2017SK2093 and 2018GK5004), The State Key Laboratory of Drug Research (SIMM1803KF-14), andProjects of Medical and Health Technology Development Program in Shandong Province (2018WS471).

Compliance with ethical standards

The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hailiang Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wenxiu Han
    • 2
  • Xiaozheng Cao
    • 1
  • Tang Gao
    • 1
  • Ranran Jia
    • 1
  • Meihui Liu
    • 1
    • 3
  • Wenbin Zeng
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Xiangya School of Pharmaceutical SciencesCentral South UniversityChangshaChina
  2. 2.Institute of Clinical Pharmacy & Pharmacology, Jining First People’s HospitalJining Medical UniversityJiningChina
  3. 3.Hunan Huacheng Biotech, Inc.ChangshaChina

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