Advancement of blinking suppressed quantum dots for enhanced single molecule imaging
Lane, Lucas A.
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This work reports the development and spectroscopic studies of blinking-suppressed compact quantum dots. It is shown that a linearly graded alloy shell can be grown on a small CdSe core via a precisely controlled layer-by-layer process, and that this graded shell leads to a dramatic suppression of QD blinking both in organic solvents and in water. A substantial portion (over 25%) of the resulting QDs essentially does not blink (more than 99% of the time in the bright or “on” state). Theoretical modeling studies indicate that this type of linearly graded and relatively thin shells can not only minimize charge carrier access to surface traps, but also reduce accumulated lattice strains and defects at the core/shell interface, both of which are believed to be responsible for carrier trapping and QD blinking. Further, the biological utility of blinking-suppressed QDs by using both polyethylene glycol (PEG)-based and multidentate capping ligands is evaluated, and the results show that their optical properties are maintained regardless of surface coatings or solvating media, and that the blinking-suppressed QDs can provide continuous trajectories in live cell receptor tracking studies.