Highly luminescent quantum dots (QDs) that emit in the visible spectrum are of interest to a number of imaging technologies, not least that of biological samples. One issue that hinders the application of luminescent markers in biology is the potential toxicity of the fluorophore. Here we show that hydrothermally synthesized ZnSe(S) QDs have low cytotoxicity to both human colorectal carcinoma cells (HCT-116) and human skin fibroblast cells (WS1). The QDs exhibited a high degree of crystallinity, with a strong blue photoluminescence at up to 29% quantum yield relative to 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) without post-synthetic UV-irradiation. Confocal microscopy images obtained of HCT-116 cells after incubation with the QDs highlighted the stability of the particles in cell media. Cytotoxicity studies showed that both HCT-116 and WS1 cells retain 100% viability after treatment with the QDs at concentrations up to 0.5 g/L, which makes them of potential use in biological imaging applications.
- Aqueous synthesis
- Cell lines
- Quantum dot cytotoxicity
- Water dispersible quantum dots