Sub-5 nm Nanodiamonds Fabricated by Plasma Immersion Ion Implantation as Fluorescent Probes

Sung Ju Han, Min Seo, Min Gyeong Cho, Young Wan Kwon, Sang Ho Lim, Seung Hee Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Fluorescent nanodiamonds (FNDs) contain nitrogen vacancy (NV) centers that emit photostable fluorescence in the wavelength range between 500 and 800 nm, which does not overlap with cellular autofluorescence. Also, the FNDs possess excellent biocompatibility. For this reason, they are promising fluorescent probes for background-free imaging for biomedical applications. The FNDs used in vivo, however, should be <10 nm for renal clearance. In this study, we introduce sub-5 nm nanodiamonds fabricated by mesh-assisted plasma immersion ion implantation as fluorescent probes for biomedical purposes. The FNDs generated with this process emitted bright fluorescence with their photoluminescence (PL) peaks centered at 620 nm. Atomic force microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and X-ray diffraction (XRD) measurements confirmed that the average diameter of the treated sample was <5 nm. Moreover, the electron paramagnetic resonance analysis results demonstrated that the 7.5 min ion-implanted FND sample contained twice as much NV- center concentration as the annealed, oxidized, and acid-cleaned detonation nanodiamonds (DNDs). Finally, the purity of samples was confirmed using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and XRD data. This study opens an avenue toward sub-5 nm FNDs with promising applications as fluorescent probes in biomedicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2238-2246
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Nano Materials
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Feb 26


  • detonation nanodiamonds (DNDs)
  • fluorescent nanodiamonds (FNDs)
  • fluorescent probes
  • large-scale production of FNDs
  • mesh-assisted PIII
  • nitrogen vacancy center (NV center)
  • plasma immersion ion implantation (PIII)
  • sub-5 nm FNDs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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