Semiconductor Nanocrystals for Biological Imaging Page: 2 of 24
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Summary of Recent Advances
Conventional organic fluorophores suffer from poor photo stability, narrow
absorption spectra and broad emission feature. Semiconductor nanocrystals, on the other
hand, are highly photo-stable with broad absorption spectra and narrow size-tunable
emission spectra. Recent advances in the synthesis of these materials have resulted in
bright, sensitive, extremely photo-stable and biocompatible semiconductor fluorophores.
Commercial availability facilitates their application in a variety of unprecedented
biological experiments, including multiplexed cellular imaging, long-term in vitro and in
vivo labeling, deep tissue structure mapping and single particle investigation of dynamic
cellular processes. Semiconductor nanocrystals are one of the first examples of
nanotechnology enabling a new class of biomedical applications.
Semiconductor nanocrystals, also called quantum dots (QDs), are a new class of
fluorescent biological labels. Originating from quantum confinement of electrons and
holes within the nanocrystal core material, the fluorescence from QDs is unique
compared to that from traditional organic fluorophores. For example, QDs exhibit high
photo stability, broad absorption and narrow and symmetric emission spectra, slow
excited state decay rate and large absorption cross section . Their emission color can
be continuously tuned from ultraviolet to visible and infrared wavelengths by changing
the size and chemical composition of the semiconductor core nanocrystal. Growing a
semiconductor shell with a larger band gap improves the quantum confinement resulting
in very bright and highly stable, chemically as well as optically, semiconductor
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Fu, Aihua; Gu, Weiwei; Larabell, Carolyn & Alivisatos, A. Paul. Semiconductor Nanocrystals for Biological Imaging, article, June 28, 2005; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc782565/m1/2/: accessed December 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.