In recent years the use of nanoparticles in medical applications has boomed. This is because the various applications that provide these materials like drug delivery, cancer cell diagnostics and therapeutics [1-5]. Biomedical applications of Quantum Dots (QDs) are focused on molecular imaging and biological sensing due to its optical properties. The size of QDs can be continuously tuned from 2 to 10 nm in diameter, which, after polymer encapsulation, generally increases to 5 – 20 nm diminishing the toxicity. The QDs prepared in our lab have a diameter between 2 to 7 nm. Particles smaller than 5 nm can interact with the cells . Some of the characteristics that distinguish QDs from the commonly used fluorophores are wider range of emission, narrow and more sharply defined emission peak, brighter emission and a higher signal to noise ratio compared with organic dyes . In this paper we will show our progress in the study of the interaction of quantum dots in live cells for image and Raman spectroscopy applications. We will also show the results of the interaction of quantum dots with genomic DNA for diagnostic purposes.
This work reports the synthesis, structural characterization, and optical properties of ZrO2:Yb3+-Er3+ (2–1 mol%) nanocrystals. The nanoparticles were coated with 3-aminopropyl triethoxysilane (APTES) and further modified with biomolecules, such as Biotin-Anti-rabbit (mouse IgG) and rabbit antibody-AntiKi-67, through a conjugation method. The conjugation was successfully confirmed by Fourier transform infrared, zeta potential, and dynamic light scattering. The internalization of the conjugated nanoparticles in human cervical cancer (HeLa) cells was followed by two-photon confocal microscopy. The ZrO2:Yb3+-Er3+ nanocrystals exhibited strong red emission under 970-nm excitation. Moreover, the luminescence change due to the addition of APTES molecules and biomolecules on the nanocrystals was also studied. These results demonstrate that ZrO2:Yb3+-Er3+ nanocrystals can be successfully functionalized with biomolecules to develop platforms for biolabeling and bioimaging.