This thesis aims to rationally design nanoparticles and promote their applications in biomedical imaging and photovoltaic cells.
Quantum dots (QDs) are promising fluorescent probes for biomedical imaging. We have fabricated two types of MSA capped QDs: CdTe/ZnSe core/shell QDs synthesized via an aqueous method and CdTe QDs via a hydrothermal method. They present high quantum yields (QYs), narrow emission band widths, high photo- and pH-stability, and low cytotoxicity. QD-IgG probes were produced and applied for labeling breast cancer marker HER2 proteins on MCF-7 cells.
For the purpose of single molecule tracking using QDs as fluorescent probes, we use small affibodies instead of antibodies to produce QD-affibody probes. Smaller QD-target protein complexes are obtained using a direct immunofluorescence approach. These QD-affibody probes are developed to study the dynamic motion of single HER2 proteins on A431 cell membranes.
Fluorescence blinking in single QDs is harmful for dynamic tracking due to information loss. We have experimentally studied the blinking phenomenon and the mechanism behind. We have discovered an emission bunching effect that two nearby QDs tend to emit light synchronously. The long-range Coulomb potential induced by the negative charge on the QD surface is found to be the major cause for the single QD blinking and the emission bunching in QD pairs.
We have studied the in vitro cytotoxicity of CdTe QDs to human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). The QDs treatment increases the intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) level and disrupts the mitochondrial membrane potential. The protein expression levels indicate that the mitochondria apoptosis is the main cause of HUVCEs apoptosis induced by CdTe QDs.
Gold nanorods (GNRs) are scattering probes due to their tunable surface plasmon resonance (SPR) enhanced scattering spectrum. In order to control the yield and morphology of GNRs, we have systematically studied the effects of composition and concentration in the growth solution on the quality of the GNRs produced via a seed-mediated method. The aspect ratios of GNRs were found to be linearly depended on the concentration ratio of silver ions and CTAB. The high quality GNRs obtained were adsorbed to COS-7 cell membranes for dark field imaging.
We have rationally designed two types of QDs by wave function engineering so as to improve the efficiency of QD-sensitized solar cells. A reversed type-I CdS/CdSe QD confines excitons in the shell region, whereas a type-II ZnSe/CdS QD separates electrons in the shell and holes in the core. Their absorbed photon-to-current efficiencies (APCE) are as high as 40% and 60% respectively.
In conclusion, rationally designed nanoparticles are proven a high potential for applications as probes in biomedical labeling, imaging and molecule tracking, and as sensitizers for photovoltaic cells.
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology , 2011.
Dmitriev, Alexander, Dr.