Light-Emitting Transition Metal Dichalcogenide Monolayers under Cellular Digestion

Yin Ting Yeh, Yi Tang, Zhong Lin, Kazunori Fujisawa, Yu Lei, Yijing Zhou, Christopher Rotella, Ana Laura Elías, Si Yang Zheng, Yingwei Mao, Zhiwen Liu, Huaguang Lu, Mauricio Terrones

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13 Scopus citations


2D materials cover a wide spectrum of electronic properties. Their applications are extended from electronic, optical, and chemical to biological. In terms of biomedical uses of 2D materials, the interactions between living cells and 2D materials are of paramount importance. However, biointerfacial studies are still in their infancy. This work studies how living organisms interact with transition metal dichalcogenide monolayers. For the first time, cellular digestion of tungsten disulfide (WS2) monolayers is observed. After digestion, cells intake WS2 and become fluorescent. In addition, these light-emitting cells are not only viable, but also able to pass fluorescent signals to their progeny cells after cell division. By combining synthesis of 2D materials and a cell culturing technique, a procedure for monitoring the interactions between WS2 monolayers and cells is developed. These observations open up new avenues for developing novel cellular labeling and imaging approaches, thus triggering further studies on interactions between 2D materials and living organisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1703321
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 22 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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