, Volume 397, Issue 4, pp 1397-1415
Date: 20 Feb 2010

In vitro and in vivo imaging with quantum dots

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Quantum dots (QDs), also named semiconductor nanocrystals, have initiated a new realm of bioscience by combining nanomaterials with biology, which will profoundly influence future biological and biomedical research. In this review, we describe the extraordinary optical properties of QDs and developments in methods for their synthesis. We focus on fluorescent imaging with QDs both in vitro and in vivo, and the cytotoxicity of QDs and potential barriers to their use in practical biomedical applications. Finally, we provide insights into improvements aimed at decreasing the cytotoxicity of QDs and the future outlook of QD applications in biomedical fields.


The unique tunable optical and chemical properties of QDs have been exploited in a growing array of biomedical applications including clinical diagnostics and molecular, cellular, and tumor imaging