Optimizing the synthesis of red- and near-infrared CuInS2and AgInS2semiconductor nanocrystals for bioimaging

Liwei Liu, Rui Hu, Wing Cheung Law, Indrajit Roy, Jing Zhu, Ling Ye, Siyi Hu, Xihe Zhang, Ken Tye Yong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


This work reports the study of optimization of the reaction parameters on the synthesis of high quality CuInS2and AgInS2nanocrystals for bioimaging applications. The concentration of reaction precursors (e.g. Ag, Cu, In and S) plays a key role in determining the emission profile of these ternary quantum dots (QDs). By carefully varying the precursor compositions, the emission of QD can be tuned from red to near infrared (NIR) region. Taking the advantages of NIR emission, which possesses minimal absorption in biological tissues, we have also prepared water-dispersible CuInS2/ZnS and AgInS2/ZnS nanocrystals and demonstrated the high biocompatibility for both deep tissue penetration and tumor targeting. The QDs were stabilized in Pluronic F127 block copolymer micelles, offering us optically and colloidally stable contrast agents for in vitro and in vivo imaging. Two-photon excitation of QD has also been demonstrated, accomplishing a NIR-to-NIR transaction. This study devotes the key steps in promoting the use of ternary QDs as low-toxic, photostable, and cadmium-free semiconductor nanocrystal formulation for multiple imaging applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6144-6153
Number of pages10
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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