Characterization and Optimization of Fluorescent Organosilica Colloids for 3D Confocal Microscopy Prepared Under “Zero-Flow” Conditions

Ruth A Crothers, Nicholas H P Orr, Berend van der Meer, Roel P A Dullens, and Taiki Yanagishima

Langmuir 2023 39 5306

We optimize and characterize the preparation of 3-trimethoxysilyl propyl methacrylate (TPM) colloidal suspensions for three-dimensional confocal microscopy. We revisit a simple synthesis of TPM microspheres by nucleation of droplets from prehydrolyzed TPM oil in a “zero-flow” regime and demonstrate how precise and reproducible control of particle size may be achieved via single-step nucleation with a focus on how the reagents are mixed. We also revamp the conventional dyeing method for TPM particles to achieve uniform transfer of a fluorophore to the organosilica droplets, improving particle identification. Finally, we illustrate how a ternary mixture of tetralin, trichloroethylene, and tetrachloroethylene may be used as a suspension medium which matches the refractive index of these particles while allowing independent control of the density mismatch between particle and solvent.