Quantum dots (QDs) are semiconductor nanocrystals that possess unique optical properties including broad-range excitation, size-tunable narrow emission spectra and high photostability, giving them considerable value in various biomedical applications. The size and composition of QDs can be varied to obtain the desired emission properties and make them amenable to simultaneous detection of multiple targets. Furthermore, numerous surface functionalizations can be used to adapt QDs to the needed application. The successful use of QDs has been reported in the areas of in vitro diagnostics and imaging. There is also potential for multimodal applications for simultaneous imaging. Toxicity issues are still a prime concern with regards to in vivo applications on account of the toxic constituents of QDs.
Nanomedicine. 2012;7(11):1755-1769. © 2012 Future Medicine Ltd.