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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/2909

Title: Synthesis and characterization of aqueous quantum dots for biomedical applications
Authors: Li, Hui
Keywords: Materials science;Quantum dots;Nanocrystals
Issue Date: 23-Oct-2008
Abstract: Quantum Dots (QDs) are semiconductor nanocrystals (1~20 nm) exhibiting distinctive photoluminescence (PL) properties due to the quantum confinement effect. Having many advantages over organic dyes, such as broad excitation and resistance to photobleaching, QDs are widely used in bioapplications as one of most exciting nanobiotechnologies. To date, most commercial QDs are synthesized through the traditional organometallic method and contain toxic elements, such as cadmium, lead, mercury, arsenic, etc. The overall goal of this thesis study is to develop an aqueous synthesis method to produce nontoxic quantum dots with strong emission and good stability, suitable for biomedical imaging applications. Firstly, an aqueous, simple, environmentally friendly synthesis method was developed. With cadmium sulfide (CdS) QDs as an example system, various processing parameters and capping molecules were examined to improve the synthesis and optimize the PL properties. The obtained water soluble QDs exhibited ultra small size (~5 nm), strong PL and good stability. Thereafter, using the aqueous method, the zinc sulfide (ZnS) QDs were synthesized with different capping molecules, i.e., 3-mercaptopropionic acid (MPA) and 3-(mercaptopropyl)trimethoxysilane (MPS). Especially, via a newly developed capping molecule replacement method, the present ZnS QDs exhibited bright blue emission with a quantum yield of 75% and more than 60 days lifetime in the ambient conditions. Two cytotoxicity tests with human endothelial cells verified the nontoxicity of the ZnS QDs by cell counting with Trypan blue staining and fluorescence assay with Alamar Blue. Taking advantage of the versatile surface chemistry, several strategies were explored to conjugate the water soluble QDs with biomolecules, i.e., antibody and streptavidin. Accordingly, the imaging of Salmonella t. cells and biotinylated microbeads has been successfully demonstrated. In addition, polyethylenimine (PEI)-QDs complex was formed and delivered into PC12 neuronal cells for intracellular imaging with uniform distribution. The water soluble QDs were also embedded in electrospun polymer fibers as fluorescent nanocomposite. In summary, the ease of aqueous processing and the excellent PL properties of the nontoxic water soluble ZnS QDs provide great potential for various in vivo applications.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/2909
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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