Quantum dots Applications - Subcutaneous record-keeping

 Source | Wikipedia  


Quantum dots are particularly promising for optical applications due to their high extinction coefficient.[55] They operate like a single-electron transistor and show the Coulomb blockade effect. Quantum dots have also been suggested as implementations of qubits for quantum information processing,[56] and as active elements for thermoelectrics.[57][58][59]

Tuning the size of quantum dots is attractive for many potential applications. For instance, larger quantum dots have a greater spectrum-shift toward red compared to smaller dots, and exhibit less pronounced quantum properties. Conversely, the smaller particles allow one to take advantage of more subtle quantum effects.

A device that produces visible light, through energy transfer from thin layers of quantum wells to crystals above the layers.[60]

Being zero-dimensional, quantum dots have a sharper density of states than higher-dimensional structures. As a result, they have superior transport and optical properties. They have potential uses in diode lasers, amplifiers, and biological sensors.[61] Quantum dots may be excited within a locally enhanced electromagnetic field produced by gold nanoparticles, which can then be observed from the surface plasmon resonance in the photoluminescent excitation spectrum of (CdSe)ZnS nanocrystals. High-quality quantum dots are well suited for optical encoding and multiplexing applications due to their broad excitation profiles and narrow/symmetric emission spectra. The new generations of quantum dots have far-reaching potential for the study of intracellular processes at the single-molecule level, high-resolution cellular imaging, long-term in vivo observation of cell trafficking, tumor targeting, and diagnostics.

CdSe nanocrystals are efficient triplet photosensitizers.[62] Laser excitation of small CdSe nanoparticles enables the extraction of the excited state energy from the Quantum Dots into bulk solution, thus opening the door to a wide range of potential applications such as photodynamic therapy, photovoltaic devices, molecular electronics, and catalysis.

Subcutaneous record-keeping

In December 2019, Robert S. Langer and his team developed and patented a technique whereby transdermal patches could be used to label people with invisible ink in order to store medical and other information subcutaneously. This was presented as a boon to "developing nations" where lack of infrastructure means an absence of medical records.[63][64] The technology, which is assigned to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,[64] uses a "quantum dot dye that is delivered, in this case along with a vaccine, by a microneedle patch." The research "was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research."[63]


In modern biological analysis, various kinds of organic dyes are used. However, as technology advances, greater flexibility in these dyes is sought.[65] To this end, quantum dots have quickly filled in the role, being found to be superior to traditional organic dyes on several counts, one of the most immediately obvious being brightness (owing to the high extinction coefficient combined with a comparable quantum yield to fluorescent dyes[13]) as well as their stability (allowing much less photobleaching).[66] It has been estimated that quantum dots are 20 times brighter and 100 times more stable than traditional fluorescent reporters.[65] For single-particle tracking, the irregular blinking of quantum dots is a minor drawback. However, there have been groups which have developed quantum dots which are essentially nonblinking and demonstrated their utility in single molecule tracking experiments.[67][68]

The use of quantum dots for highly sensitive cellular imaging has seen major advances.[69] The improved photostability of quantum dots, for example, allows the acquisition of many consecutive focal-plane images that can be reconstructed into a high-resolution three-dimensional image.[70] Another application that takes advantage of the extraordinary photostability of quantum dot probes is the real-time tracking of molecules and cells over extended periods of time.[71] Antibodies, streptavidin,[72] peptides,[73] DNA,[74] nucleic acid aptamers,[75] or small-molecule ligands[76] can be used to target quantum dots to specific proteins on cells. Researchers were able to observe quantum dots in lymph nodes of mice for more than 4 months.[77]

Quantum dots can have antibacterial properties similar to nanoparticles and can kill bacteria in a dose-dependent manner.[78] One mechanism by which quantum dots can kill bacteria is through impairing the functions of antioxidative system in the cells and down regulating the antioxidative genes. In addition, quantum dots can directly damage the cell wall. Quantum dots have been shown to be effective against both gram- positive and gram-negative bacteria.[79]

Semiconductor quantum dots have also been employed for in vitro imaging of pre-labeled cells. The ability to image single-cell migration in real time is expected to be important to several research areas such as embryogenesiscancer metastasisstem cell therapeutics, and lymphocyte immunology.

One application of quantum dots in biology is as donor fluorophores in Förster resonance energy transfer, where the large extinction coefficient and spectral purity of these fluorophores make them superior to molecular fluorophores[80] It is also worth noting that the broad absorbance of QDs allows selective excitation of the QD donor and a minimum excitation of a dye acceptor in FRET-based studies.[81] The applicability of the FRET model, which assumes that the Quantum Dot can be approximated as a point dipole, has recently been demonstrated[82]

The use of quantum dots for tumor targeting under in vivo conditions employ two targeting schemes: active targeting and passive targeting. In the case of active targeting, quantum dots are functionalized with tumor-specific binding sites to selectively bind to tumor cells. Passive targeting uses the enhanced permeation and retention of tumor cells for the delivery of quantum dot probes. Fast-growing tumor cells typically have more permeable membranes than healthy cells, allowing the leakage of small nanoparticles into the cell body. Moreover, tumor cells lack an effective lymphatic drainage system, which leads to subsequent nanoparticle-accumulation.

Quantum dot probes exhibit in vivo toxicity. For example, CdSe nanocrystals are highly toxic to cultured cells under UV illumination, because the particles dissolve, in a process known as photolysis, to release toxic cadmium ions into the culture medium. In the absence of UV irradiation, however, quantum dots with a stable polymer coating have been found to be essentially nontoxic.[77][45] Hydrogel encapsulation of quantum dots allows for quantum dots to be introduced into a stable aqueous solution, reducing the possibility of cadmium leakage. Then again, only little is known about the excretion process of quantum dots from living organisms.[83]

In another potential application, quantum dots are being investigated as the inorganic fluorophore for intra-operative detection of tumors using fluorescence spectroscopy.

Delivery of undamaged quantum dots to the cell cytoplasm has been a challenge with existing techniques. Vector-based methods have resulted in aggregation and endosomal sequestration of quantum dots while electroporation can damage the semi-conducting particles and aggregate delivered dots in the cytosol. Via cell squeezing, quantum dots can be efficiently delivered without inducing aggregation, trapping material in endosomes, or significant loss of cell viability. Moreover, it has shown that individual quantum dots delivered by this approach are detectable in the cell cytosol, thus illustrating the potential of this technique for single molecule tracking studies.


SOURCE | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_dot#Applications

Post a Comment