Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) may be regarded as a 'smart' technology in the design of fluorescence probes for biological sensing and imaging. Recently, a variety of nanoparticles that include quantum dots, gold nanoparticles, polymer, mesoporous silica nanoparticles and upconversion nanoparticles have been employed to modulate FRET. Researchers have developed a number of 'visible' and 'activatable' FRET probes sensitive to specific changes in the biological environment that are especially attractive from the biomedical point of view. This article reviews recent progress in bringing these nanoparticle-modulated energy transfer schemes to fruition for applications in biosensing, molecular imaging and drug delivery.
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