SiC Quantum Dots Image Live Cells

 
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:44 pm    Post subject: SiC Quantum Dots Image Live Cells Reply with quote

Researchers have made the first, chemically inert, biocompatible silicon carbide quantum dots for fluorescence imaging of living cells.


(a) White light microscopy images (magnified 100 times) of biological cells not having been exposed to QDs (left column) and having been exposed to QDs (right column). (b) Corresponding fluorescence photos (magnified 100 times) obtained under UV/violet excitation. Credit: Appl. Phys. Lett. .

The first biocompatible silicon carbide QDs for fluorescence imaging have been fabricated by a team of scientists in France . The result is a major advance since all quantum dots used for imaging so far were toxic to cells ( Applied Phyics Letters 92 173902).

Quantum dots based on II-IV and III-IV group semiconductors are used for in vitro imaging of biological cells because of their remarkable luminescent properties. They can be tagged onto cells and their fluorescence measured. The only problem is that these quantum dots are highly toxic to cells, which means that they have to be coated with a protective layer, such as a polymer, before they can be employed. However, no protective layer is really good enough to completely shield cells.

Now, Jacques Botsoa of the Institut des Nanotechnologies in Lyon and colleagues may have found a solution to this problem. The silicon carbide quantum dots that the researchers used are highly luminescent, chemically inert, stable and biocompatible. They could be used to bio-image and label living cells as well as study the mechanisms of quantum transport through cells and nuclear membranes.

Source: http://optics.org/cws/article/research/35800
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