A primer on the synthesis, water-solubilization, and functionalization of quantum dots, their use as biological sensing agents, and present status
The use of nanomaterials, specifically fluorescent semiconductor quantum dots (QDs), for biological imaging and sensing has become very topical. Here we present a historical synopsis of research in this field to help elucidate the origins of the most recent advances in QD-based technology. We further aim to educate the novice researcher concerning many important aspects of QD synthesis, water-solubilization, functionalization, and usage in biological imaging and sensing that are generally not discussed in the literature. We will also summarize several recent transformative examples of using quantum dots for in vitro and in vivo studies.