Nanoscale | 2021
Lanthanide doped luminescence nanothermometers in the biological windows: strategies and applications.
The development of lanthanide-doped non-contact luminescent nanothermometers with accuracy, efficiency and fast diagnostic tools attributed to their versatility, stability and narrow emission band profiles has spurred the replacement of conventional contact thermal probes. The application of lanthanide-doped materials as temperature nanosensors, excited by ultraviolet, visible or near infrared light, and the generation of emissions lying in the biological window regions, I-BW (650 nm-950 nm), II-BW (1000 nm-1350 nm), III-BW (1400 nm-2000 nm) and IV-BW (centered at 2200 nm), are notably growing due to the advantages they present, including reduced phototoxicity and photobleaching, better image contrast and deeper penetration depths into biological tissues. Here, the different mechanisms used in lanthanide ion-doped nanomaterials to sense temperature in these biological windows for biomedical and other applications are summarized, focusing on factors that affect their thermal sensitivity, and consequently their temperature resolution. Comparing the thermometric performance of these nanomaterials in each biological window, we identified the strategies that allow boosting of their sensing properties.