Quantum Dots

Biosensors and Biointerfaces Group - Research Projects

Silicon quantum dots as biocompatible nanomaterials for biolabelling

(with Dr Peter Reece, Physics, UNSW))
Nanoscale silicon degrades in the body into benign products and hence is a biocompatible material. Silicon nanoparticles of only a few nanometers in diameter have been shown to fluoresce at well defined wavelengths especially in the blue region of the visible spectrum. Hence these materials have enormous potential for use in biology in applications where existing more toxic quantum dots are being employed. As a consequence we a redeveloping silicon quantum dots for use in biological applications such as luminescent labels. The challenges are to adjust the wavelength of light emitted and to stabilize the dots so they do not degrade too quickly in the body. We are using our expertise in modifying silicon with organic monolayers to achieve this. The quantum dots are synthesized using a solution process and modified using UV induced hydrosilylation.

High resolution transmission electrode microscope image of a silicon quantum dots

Above - High resolution transmission electrode microscope image of a silicon quantum dots. Insets show a schematic of the organic monolayer coated silicon quantum dot and the emission of light from a cuvette of silicon quantum dots.