Enlarged quantum dots could yield light source for biomedical imaging

Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas and colleagues altered nanocrystal quantum dots by increasing their size to avoid their unpredictable blinking, making them a promising light source for illuminating the human body in biomedical imaging.

Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) and colleagues altered nanocrystal quantum dots by increasing their size to avoid their unpredictable blinking, making them a promising light source for illuminating the human body in biomedical imaging.

The team—led by Dr. Anton Malko, assistant professor at UT Dallas—increased the quantum dots from their 4 nm normal size to 15 nm, discovering that the process that causes their blinking didn't have the same effect when they scaled up the size, says Malko. They found that said process, known as “Auger” recombination, is strongly dependent on the thickness of the quantum dot’s shell and allows complete blinking suppression for large shell particles, he adds.

Quantum dots are regarded as the next generation of efficient light sources because of their efficiency in both emitting and absorbing light, says Malko. So keeping them from blinking is key to facilitating their widespread use, he says.

The study is the result of collaboration between Malko’s team at UT Dallas and researchers from the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies and the Center for Advanced Solar Photophysics at Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos, TX).

The team's findings are detailed in a recent issue of the journal Nano Letters. For more information on the work, please visit http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl2025272?prevSearch=malko&searchHistoryKey=.

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