Micelle-templated composite quantum dots for super-resolution imaging

Jianquan Xu, Qirui Fan, Kalpesh D. Mahajan, Gang Ruan, Andrew Herrington, Kayvan F. Tehrani, Peter Kner, Jessica O. Winter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Quantum dots (QDs) have tremendous potential for biomedical imaging, including super-resolution techniques that permit imaging below the diffraction limit. However, most QDs are produced via organic methods, and hence require surface treatment to render them water-soluble for biological applications. Previously, we reported a micelle-templating method that yields nanocomposites containing multiple core/shell ZnS-CdSe QDs within the same nanocarrier, increasing overall particle brightness and virtually eliminating QD blinking. Here, this technique is extended to the encapsulation of Mn-doped ZnSe QDs (Mn-ZnSe QDs), which have potential applications in super-resolution imaging as a result of the introduction of Mn2+ dopant energy levels. The size, shape and fluorescence characteristics of these doped QD-micelles were compared to those of micelles created using core/shell ZnS-CdSe QDs (ZnS-CdSe QD-micelles). Additionally, the stability of both types of particles to photo-oxidation was investigated. Compared to commercial QDs, micelle-templated QDs demonstrated superior fluorescence intensity, higher signal-to-noise ratios, and greater stability against photo-oxidization,while reducing blinking. Additionally, the fluorescence of doped QD-micelles could be modulated from a bright 'on' state to a dark 'off' state, with a modulation depth of up to 76%, suggesting the potential of doped QD-micelles for applications in super-resolution imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Article number195601
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • doping
  • quantum dots
  • superresolution imaging


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