Time-Resolved Optical Properties of Colloidal CdSe-CdS/ZnS Core-Multishell Quantum Dots in Bioimaging
Sammanfattning: Semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) have attracted great attention as a novel fluorescent material in the last twenty years. Their superior optical properties such as high brightness and photostability, broad absorption spectrum, narrow and size-tunable emission spectrum, enable them great application in bioimaging.However, the fluorescence from single QDs shows irregular on (bright) and off (dark) switches under continuous irradiation which is known as blinking. QD blinking may lead to information loss in single particle tracking and lower brightness in other bioimaging applications. We studied the blinking behavior and its mechanism by using CdSe-core QDs with different shell thicknesses under different excitations. We observed two types of fluorescence behavior, blinking with apparent on and off states and flickering without distinguishable on and off states under low (1.8 and 3.9 W/cm2) and high (12.1 and 25 W/cm2) excitations, respectively. The transfer of photoexcited electron or hole from CdSe core to the QD surface is responsible for QD blinking under low excitations. And further intraband excitation of photoexcited electron and hole is responsible for QD flickering under high excitations.Ca2+ serves as the second messenger in signal transduction. Monitoring Ca2+ concentration in live cell is a key technique in biological research especially in neuroscience. Most of the commercial Ca2+ indicators are organic dyes which are easy to be photobleached. In order to develop QD-based Ca2+ indicator, we investigated the effect of Ca2+ on the QD fluorescence. We found that the fluorescence intensity, lifetime, and on-state ratio in single QD fluorescence were all decreased by Ca2+ ion. Theoretical study shows that one free Ca2+ could attach stably to the surface of one QD, attracting the photogenerated electron and repel the photogenerated hole, suppressing the radiative recombination between them, and resulting in the reduction of fluorescence intensity, lifetime and on-state ratio.Overexpression of vascular adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) in endothelial cells is a hallmark of inflammation-induced activation of endothelium and may serve as a target for evaluation atherogenesis in early stages. We conjugated VCAM-1 binding peptide to amino-coated QDs and employed the functionalized QDs (VQDs) to specifically image activated endothelial cells. Upon the interaction between VQDs and endothelial cells, a blue-shift of about 30 nm in the QD fluorescence peak was observed. We anticipate that the VQDs and the blue-shift phenomenon could be very useful for VCAM-1 detection in vitro and in vivo.Furthermore, we studied the fluorescence of QDs embedded in a porous alumina membrane which is widely used as biomolecule and cell filter for biological research. We found that the fluorescence spectrum has small peaks superimposed on the principle curve. Theoretical study identifies that this modulation is due to the photonic band structure introduced by the membrane pores. This work could supply information about the interaction between QD fluorescence and porous membrane structure which would be useful when applying QDs to image biomolecules or cells filtered by the porous alumina membrane.
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