Quantum dot-mediated photoproduction of reactive oxygen species for cancer cell annihilation

Ji Yao Chen, Yee Man Lee, Dan Zhao, Nai Ki MAK*, Ricky N S WONG, Wing Hong CHAN, Nai Ho CHEUNG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


While semiconductor quantum dots produce little singlet oxygen, they may undergo Type I photoreactions to produce other reactive oxygen species (ROS) to kill cells. CdTe quantum dots coated with thioglycolic acid were used to test that possibility. Some thiol ligands were purposely removed to regenerate the surface electron traps that were passivated by the ligand. This allowed photoinduced electrons to dwell on the surface long enough to be gathered by nearby oxygen molecules to produce ROS. The photocytotoxicity of these quantum dots was tested on nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells. Photokilling was shown to be drug and light dose dependent. Using 0.6 μm quantum dots for incubation and 4.8 J cm-2 for irradiation, about 80% of the cells were annihilated. These quantum dots promised to be potent sensitizers for photoannihilation of cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-437
Number of pages7
JournalPhotochemistry and Photobiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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