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One-Pot Synthesis of Biocompatible CdSe/CdS Quantum Dots and Their Applications as Fluorescent Biological Labels

Chuanxin Zhai1, Hui Zhang1, Ning Du1, Bingdi Chen1, Hai Huang2, Yulian Wu2 and Deren Yang1*

Author Affiliations

1 State Key Lab of Silicon Materials and Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Zhejiang University, 310027 Hangzhou, People's Republic of China

2 Department of Surgery, the Second Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, 310027 Hangzhou, People's Republic of China

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Nanoscale Res Lett 2011, 6:31  doi:10.1007/s11671-010-9774-z

Published: 17 September 2010


We developed a novel one-pot polyol approach for the synthesis of biocompatible CdSe quantum dots (QDs) using poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) as a capping ligand at 240°C. The morphological and structural characterization confirmed the formation of biocompatible and monodisperse CdSe QDs with several nanometers in size. The encapsulation of CdS thin layers on the surface of CdSe QDs (CdSe/CdS core–shell QDs) was used for passivating the defect emission (650 nm) and enhancing the fluorescent quantum yields up to 30% of band-to-band emission (530–600 nm). Moreover, the PL emission peak of CdSe/CdS core–shell QDs could be tuned from 530 to 600 nm by the size of CdSe core. The as-prepared CdSe/CdS core–shell QDs with small size, well water solubility, good monodispersity, and bright PL emission showed high performance as fluorescent cell labels in vitro. The viability of QDs-labeled 293T cells was evaluated using a 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol)-2-diphenyltertrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. The results showed the satisfactory (>80%) biocompatibility of as-synthesized PAA-capped QDs at the Cd concentration of 15 μg/ml.

Polyol Synthesis; CdSe/CdS; Quantum dots; Nanomaterials; Luminescence; Labeling