Facile synthesis and characterization of highly fluorescent and biocompatible N-acetyl-l-cysteine capped CdTe/CdS/ZnS core/shell/shell quantum dots in aqueous phase

Qi Xiao, Shan Huang*, Wei Su, Wing Hong CHAN, Yi Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The synthesis of water-soluble quantum dots (QDs) in aqueous phase has received much attention recently. To date various kinds of QDs such as CdTe, CdSe, CdTe/CdS and CdSe/ZnS have been synthesized by aqueous methods. However, generally poor-quality QDs (photoluminescent quantum yield (PLQY) lower than 30%) are obtained via this method and the 3-mercaptopropionic acid stabilizer is notorious for its toxicity and awful odor. Here we introduce a novel thiol ligand, N-acetyl-l-cysteine, as an ideal stabilizer that is successfully employed to synthesize high-quality CdTe/CdS/ZnS QDs via a simple aqueous phase. The core/shell/shell structures of the CdTe/CdS/ZnS QDs were verified by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy, x-ray powder diffraction and transmission electron microscopy. These QDs not only possess a high PLQY but also have excellent photostability and favorable biocompatibility, which is vital for many biological applications. This type of water-dispersed QD is a promising candidate for fluorescent probes in biological and medical fields.

Original languageEnglish
Article number495717
JournalNanotechnology
Volume23
Issue number49
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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