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Stable DHLA–PEG capped PbS quantum dots: from synthesis to near-infrared biomedical imaging


F. Zamberlan

Z. Liu

P.A. Clarke

Y. Imamura

T. Jin

Professor of Medicinal and Biological Chemistry

Professor of Cancer Microenvironment


The short shelf-life of water-soluble quantum dots (QDs) due to colloidal instability represents a major drawback to their exploitation. This work examines the colloidal stability of PbS nanoparticles capped with dihydrolipoic acid–polyethylene glycol (DHLA–PEG) ligands terminated with functional groups such as –NH 2 , –COOH, OMe and –N3 and their application for in vivo imaging. We prove a mechanism of colloidal instability and develop a strategy to produce for the first time stable PEG-capped PbS quantum dots with high quantum yield and optical emission in the first and the second near-infrared (NIR) windows of low absorption of biological tissues. The NIR imaging of in vivo biodistribution is demonstrated at wavelengths 4 1000 nm, with benefits of reduced tissue absorption and light scattering. The stability, biocompatibility and potential for further QD functionalization open up realistic prospects for non-invasive bioimaging applications.


Zamberlan, F., Turyanska, L., Patanè, A., Liu, Z., Williams, H., Fay, M., …Grabowska, A. (in press). Stable DHLA–PEG capped PbS quantum dots: from synthesis to near-infrared biomedical imaging. Journal of Materials Chemistry B, 6,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 15, 2017
Online Publication Date Jan 12, 2018
Deposit Date Jan 8, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jan 12, 2018
Journal Journal of Materials Chemistry B
Print ISSN 2050-750X
Electronic ISSN 2050-7518
Publisher Royal Society of Chemistry
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Public URL
Publisher URL


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