Indexed on: 24 Sep '13Published on: 24 Sep '13Published in: Biomaterials
Near-infrared (NIR, 700-900 nm) fluorescent quantum dots are highly promising as NIR bioprobes for high-resolution and high-sensitivity bioimaging applications. In this article, we present a class of NIR-emitting CdTe/CdS/ZnS core-shell-shell quantum dots (QDs), which are directly prepared in aqueous phase via a facile microwave synthesis. Significantly, the prepared NIR-emitting QDs possess excellent aqueous dispersibility, strong photoluminescence, favorable biocompatibility, robust storage-, chemical-, and photo-stability, and finely tunable emission in the NIR range (700-800 nm). The QDs are readily functionalized with antibodies for use in immunofluorescent bioimaging, yielding highly spectrally and spatially resolved emission for in vitro and in vivo imaging. In comparison to the large size of 15-30 nm of the conventional NIR QDs, the extremely small size (≈ 4.2 nm or 7.5 nm measured by TEM or DLS, respectively) of our QDs offers great opportunities for high-efficiency and high-sensitivity targeted imaging in cells and animals.