SiC quantum dots image live cells

Technology update
Aug 22, 2008

SiC quantum dots image live cells
Researchers in France have made the first, chemically inert, biocompatible silicon carbide quantum dots for fluorescence imaging of living cells. The result is a major advance since all quantum dots used for imaging so far were toxic to cells.

Quantum dots based on II-IV and III-IV group semiconductors are used for in vitro imaging of biological cells because of their remarkable luminescent properties. They can be tagged onto cells and their fluorescence measured. The only problem is that these quantum dots are highly toxic to cells, which means that they have to be coated with a protective layer, such as a polymer, before they can be employed. However, no protective layer is really good enough to completely shield cells.
Now, Jacques Botsoa of the Institut des Nanotechnologies in Lyon and colleagues may have found a solution to this problem. The silicon carbide quantum dots that the researchers used are highly luminescent, chemically inert, stable and biocompatible. They could be used to bio-image and label living cells as well as study the mechanisms of quantum transport through cells and nuclear membranes.

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~ by vascoteixeira on August 25, 2008.

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