Herein is presented a proof-of-concept study of protease sensing that combines nontoxic silicon quantum dots (SiQDs) with Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET). The SiQDs serve as the donor and an organic dye as the acceptor. The dye is covalently attached to the SiQDs using a peptide linker. Enzymatic cleavage of the peptide leads to changes in FRET efficiency. The combination of interfacial design and optical imaging presented in this work opens opportunities for use of nontoxic SiQDs relevant to intracellular sensing and imaging.
In this paper we present recent advances in Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) sensing and bioimaging using nontoxic silicon quantum dots. (SiQDs) In our work, we prepare SiQDs-dye conjugates, with SiQDs serving as the donor which are covalently attached to organic dye acceptors via self-assembled monolayer linkers. Enzymatic cleavage of the peptide leads to changes in FRET response which was monitored using fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM-FRET). The combination of interfacial design and optical imaging presented in this work opens new opportunities for bio-applications using nontoxic silicon quantum dots.