Application of semiconductor quantum dots in bioimaging and biosensing
In this review we present new concepts and recent progress in the application of semiconductor quantum dots (QD) as labels in two important areas of biology, bioimaging and biosensing. We analyze the biologically relevant properties of QDs focusing on the following topics: QD surface treatment and stability, labeling of cellular structures and receptors with QDs, incorporation of QDs in living cells, cytotoxicity of QDs and influence of the biological environment on the biological and optical properties of QDs. Initially, we consider utilization of QDs as agents in high-resolution bioimaging techniques that can provide information at the molecular levels. The diverse range of modern live-cell QD-based imaging techniques with resolution far beyond the diffraction limit of light is examined. In each technique, we discuss the pros and cons of QD use and deliberate how QDs can be further engineered to facilitate their application in the respective imaging techniques and to produce significant improvements in resolution. Then we review QD-based point-of-care bioassays, bioprobes, and biosensors designed in different formats ranging from analytic biochemistry assays and ELISA, to novel point-of-care smartphone integrated QD-based biotests. Here, a wide range of QD-based fluorescence bioassays with optical transduction, elecrochemiluminescence and photoelectrochemical assays are discussed. Finally, this review provides an analysis of the prospects of application of QDs in selected important areas of biology.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Review Articles