Nanoreporters are a class of nanoparticles containing a solid core material which is released in the presence of oil. They are used in the petroleum industry for hydrocarbon discovery. An aqueous suspension of nanoreporters is injected into the subsurface before being recovered and analyzed for released core material.
Existing nanoreporters rely on polyelectrolytes attached to their surfaces to keep them suspended in the aqueous medium. However, these polyelectrolytes are poorly solvated at high salinity and are susceptible to breakdown at elevated temperatures, compromising the colloidal stability of existing nanoreporters under conditions commonly encountered in oil reservoirs.