Hybrid nanoparticles which incorporate multiple functionalities, such as fluorescence and magnetism, can exhibit enhanced efficiency and versatility by performing several tasks in parallel. In this study, magnetic-fluorescent semiconductor polymer nanospheres (MF-SPNs) have been synthesized by encapsulation of hydrophobic conjugated polymers and iron oxide nanoparticles in phospholipid micelles. Four fluorescent conjugated polymers were used, yielding aqueous dispersions of nanoparticles which emit across the visible spectrum. The MF-SPNs were shown to be magnetically responsive and simultaneously fluorescent. In MRI studies, they were seen to have a shortening effect on the transverse T(2)* relaxation time, which demonstrates their potential as an MR contrast agent. Finally, successful uptake of the MF-SPNs by SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells was demonstrated, and they were seen to behave as bright and stable fluorescent markers. There was no evidence of toxicity or adverse affect on cell growth.
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