Gold nanoclusters (AuNCs) have been extensively applied as a fluorescent probe for biomedical applications in imaging, detection, and therapy due to their unique chemical and physical properties. Fluorescent probes of AuNCs have exhibited high compatibility, superior photostablility, and excellent water solubility which resulted in remarkable biomedical applications for long-term imaging, high-sensitivity detection, and target-specific treatment. Recently, great efforts have been made in the developments of AuNCs as the fluorescent probes for various biomedical applications. In this review, we have collected fluorescent AuNCs prepared by different ligands, including small molecules, polymers, and biomacromolecules, and highlighted current achievements of AuNCs in biomedical applications for imaging, detection, and therapy. According to these advances, we further provided conclusions of present challenges and future perspectives of AuNCs for fundamental investigations and practical biomedical applications.
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