Fabrication of type-I indium-based near-infrared emitting quantum dots for biological imaging applications
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Semiconductor nanocrystals or quantum dots (QDs) are fluorescent nanometer-sized particles which have physical dimensions that are smaller than the excitonic Bohr radius, large surface area-to-volume ratios, broad absorption spectra and very large molar extinction coefficients. Biomedical applications of QDs are mainly based on II-VI QDs containing cadmium, such as CdSe/ZnS. These cadmium-based systems are associated with high toxicity due to cadmium. As a result, potential replacements of cadmium-based QDs in biological applications are needed. In this study, InP/ZnSe QDs were synthesized for the first time using a one-pot hot injection method. Furthermore, a growth-doping method was used for silver, cobalt and iron incorporation into the InP core. Water compatibility was achieved through ligand exchange with 3- mercaptopropionic acid. In vitro cytotoxicity and imaging/internalization of the as-prepared MP A-InP/ZnSe and MP A-capped CdTe/ZnS QDs were evaluated. InP/ZnSe QDs were successfully synthesized with ZnSe shell causing a 1.4 times reduction in trap-related emission.