Luminescent Sensing with Quantum Dots

  • John F. Callan
  • A. P. De Silva
  • R. C. Mulrooney
  • B. Mc Caughan


This review highlights recent advances in the use of quantum dots (QD’s) as luminescent sensors. The bulk of the study concentrates on systems that possess organic ligands bound to the surface of QD’s. These ligands vary from low molecular weight thiols to larger molecules such as maltose binding protein. All have one thing in common: when a target analyte binds to the ligand/receptor, a perturbation of the system occurs, that registers itself as a change in the luminescence intensity of the QD. Two main mechanisms are prevalent in controlling the luminescent intensity in such systems. The first is Photoinduced Electron Transfer (PET) and the second energy transfer. This review looks at current sensors that operate by using these mechanisms. Two component systems are also investigated where a quencher is first added to a solution of the QD, followed by addition of the target analyte that interacts with the quencher to influence the luminescence intensity.


quantum dots sensors semiconductor nanocrystal luminescence 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • John F. Callan
    • 1
  • A. P. De Silva
    • 2
  • R. C. Mulrooney
    • 1
  • B. Mc Caughan
    • 2
  1. 1.School of PharmacyThe Robert Gordon UniversityAberdeenUK
  2. 2.School of ChemistryQueen’s University of BelfastBelfastUK

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