Three-Dimensional Tracking of Carbon Nanotubes within Living Cells

ACS Nano, 2012, DOI: 10.1021/nn301298e, 6 (6), pp 5420–5428 published on 24.05.2012
ACS Nano, online article
Three-dimensional tracking of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) with an orbital tracking microscope is demonstrated. We determine the viscosity regime (above 250 cP) at which the rotational diffusion coefficient can be used for length estimation. We also demonstrate SWNT tracking within live HeLa cells and use these findings to spatially map corral volumes (0.27–1.32 μm3), determine an active transport velocity (455 nm/s), and calculate local viscosities (54–179 cP) within the cell. With respect to the future use of SWNTs as sensors in living cells, we conclude that the sensor must change the fluorescence signal by at least 4–13% to allow separation of the sensor signal from fluctuations due to rotation of the SWNT when measuring with a time resolution of 32 ms.

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TU München
Helmholtz München
MPI of Neurobiology
MPI of Biochemistry