Issue 40, 2017

Optical detection of gadolinium(iii) ions via quantum dot aggregation


A rapid, sensitive and selective optical readout of the presence of gadolinium(III) ions would have a wide range of applications for clinical and environmental monitoring. We demonstrate that water-soluble CdTe quantum dots (QDs) are induced to aggregate by Gd3+ ions in aqueous solution. By using a combination of photoluminescence spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) to monitor quantum dot aggregation kinetics, we correlate the efficiency of the self-quenching process with the degree of aggregation across a broad range of conditions, including different sizes of QDs. We attribute the aggregation to metal binding to the QD's surface ligands and the quenching to intra-aggregate energy transfer between QDs. When the strategy was applied to additional trivalent ions, the aggregation rate varied according to the particular trivalent metal ion used, suggesting that the selectivity can be enhanced and controlled by appropriate design of the capping ligands and solution conditions.

Graphical abstract: Optical detection of gadolinium(iii) ions via quantum dot aggregation

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
07 Apr 2017
28 Apr 2017
First published
11 May 2017
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

RSC Adv., 2017,7, 24730-24735

Optical detection of gadolinium(III) ions via quantum dot aggregation

S. D. Quinn and S. W. Magennis, RSC Adv., 2017, 7, 24730 DOI: 10.1039/C7RA03969G

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