High-quantum yield alloy-typed core/shell CdSeZnS/ZnS quantum dots for bio-applications

Jaehi Kim, Do Won Hwang, Heung Su Jung, Kyu Wan Kim, Xuan Hung Pham, Sang Hun Lee, Jung Woo Byun, Wooyeon Kim, Hyung Mo Kim, Eunil Hahm, Kyeong min Ham, Won Yeop Rho, Dong Soo Lee, Bong Hyun Jun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: Quantum dots (QDs) have been used as fluorophores in various imaging fields owing to their strong fluorescent intensity, high quantum yield (QY), and narrow emission bandwidth. However, the application of QDs to bio-imaging is limited because the QY of QDs decreases substantially during the surface modification step for bio-application. Results: In this study, we fabricated alloy-typed core/shell CdSeZnS/ZnS quantum dots (alloy QDs) that showed higher quantum yield and stability during the surface modification for hydrophilization compared with conventional CdSe/CdS/ZnS multilayer quantum dots (MQDs). The structure of the alloy QDs was confirmed using time-of-flight medium-energy ion scattering spectroscopy. The alloy QDs exhibited strong fluorescence and a high QY of 98.0%. After hydrophilic surface modification, the alloy QDs exhibited a QY of 84.7%, which is 1.5 times higher than that of MQDs. The QY was 77.8% after the alloy QDs were conjugated with folic acid (FA). Alloy QDs and MQDs, after conjugation with FA, were successfully used for targeting human KB cells. The alloy QDs exhibited a stronger fluorescence signal than MQD; these signals were retained in the popliteal lymph node area for 24 h. Conclusion: The alloy QDs maintained a higher QY in hydrophilization for biological applications than MQDs. And also, alloy QDs showed the potential as nanoprobes for highly sensitive bioimaging analysis. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number22
JournalJournal of Nanobiotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Alloy
  • Folic acid
  • In vitro imaging
  • In vivo imaging
  • Quantum dot
  • Quantum yield
  • Surface modification


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