Quantum Dots and Their Immunochemical Applications
Quantum dots (QDs) are nanometre size semiconductor crystals which possess unique physical and chemical properties. In recent years they were widely used as signal enhancers in biological analysis, mainly because of their high quantum yield, photostability and long-lasting photoluminescence. Compared to common organic fluorophores QDs exhibit wider absorption spectra (QDs absorb photons when excitation energy exceeds the bandgap), narrow emission wavelengths and high Stoke's shift which allow usage of several different-coloured QDs in single multiplex assays. QDs' synthesis can be conducted by top-down or bottomup approach. Both methods of synthesis may lead to surface imperfections which may negatively affect QDs' optical properties. To avoid this problem surface passivation is required. The most widely used passivation method is to cover the QD's core with material having larger band gap (ZnS). QDs can be widely used in different applications due to the ease of surface functionalization by means of organic and inorganic molecules (polymers, dendrimers, proteins, antibodies and etc.) by many different approaches like ligand-exchange, silanization, amphiphilic combination and other mechanisms. Functionalized QDs have been used for various purposes in in-vitro and in-vivo imaging, drug delivery, therapeutics and other. However this review is mainly focused on immunochemical applications of QDs such as immunohistochemistry, FLISA, FRET, immunosensors etc. QD-based immunological assays are being used for detection of pathogens, toxins, proteins, metal ions (Hg2+) and allergens. Based on growing rate of QDs' applications it can be concluded that in the coming years their number is going to increase. (original abstract)
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