Quantum dots (QDs) have many appealing properties for biological fluorescence imaging, but exhibit photostabilities that are dependent upon surface passivation to minimize susceptibility to oxygen and light. Here, through spectroscopy and imaging techniques, we compare the photostability of micelle-encapsulated QDs with QDs passivated with either crosslinked amphiphilic polymers or crosslink-free amphiphilic polymers. Both crosslinked and crosslink-free amphiphilic polymer passivation strategies produced QDs with high photoluminescence stability for exposure to light under ambient conditions. In contrast, micelle encapsulation resulted in QDs with photoluminescence emission levels that were highly sensitive to both light exposure and oxygen, exhibiting a reduction of up to 70% in photoluminescence intensity within twenty minutes of exposure. With the addition of reducing agents, the photoluminescence level of the micelle-encapsulated QDs was significantly stabilized. We conclude that amphiphilic polymers provide coatings with considerably higher integrity and stability than micelle encapsulation, reducing the QDs' sensitivities to oxygen and light, both of which are relevant factors in biological imaging applications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Mechanics of Materials