Bioconjugation of luminescent silicon quantum dots to gadolinium ions for bioimaging applications

Folarin Erogbogbo, Ching Wen Chang, Jasmine L. May, Liwei Liu, Rajiv Kumar, Wing Cheung Law, Hong Ding, Ken Tye Yong, Indrajit Roy, Mukund Sheshadri, Mark T. Swihart, Paras N. Prasad

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


Luminescent imaging agents and MRI contrast agents are desirable components in the rational design of multifunctional nanoconstructs for biological imaging applications. Luminescent biocompatible silicon quantum dots (SiQDs) and gadolinium chelates can be applied for fluorescence microscopy and MRI, respectively. Here, we report the first synthesis of a nanocomplex incorporating SiQDs and gadolinium ions (Gd3+) for biological applications. The nanoconstruct is composed of a PEGylated micelle, with hydrophobic SiQDs in its core, covalently bound to DOTA-chelated Gd3+. Dynamic light scattering reveals a radius of 85 nm for these nanoconstructs, which is consistent with the electron microscopy results depicting radii ranging from 25 to 60 nm. Cellular uptake of the probes verified that they maintain their optical properties within the intracellular environment. The magnetic resonance relaxivity of the nanoconstruct was 2.4 mM-1 s-1 (in terms of Gd3+ concentration), calculated to be around 6000 mM-1 s-1 per nanoconstruct. These desirable optical and relaxivity properties of the newly developed probe open the door for use of SiQDs in future multimodal applications such as tumour imaging.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5483-5489
Number of pages7
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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