Wide visible-range activatable fluorescence ZnSe:Eu3+/Mn2+@ZnS quantum dots: local atomic structure order and application as a nanoprobe for bioimaging
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The development of QDs-based fluorescent bionanoprobe for cellular imaging fundamentally relies upon the precise knowledge of particle–cell interaction, optical properties of QDs inside and outside of the cell, movement of a particle in and out of the cell, and the fate of particle. We reported engineering and physicochemical characterization of water-dispersible Eu3+/Mn2+ co-doped ZnSe@ZnS core/shell QDs and studied their potential as a bionanoprobe for biomedical applications, evaluating their biocompatibility, fluorescence behaviour by CytoViva dual mode fluorescence imaging, time-dependent uptake, endocytosis and exocytosis in RAW 264.7 macrophages. The oxidation state and local atomic structure of the Eu dopant studied by X-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS) analysis manifested that the Eu3+ ions occupied sites in both ZnSe and ZnS lattices for the core/shell QDs. A novel approach was developed to relieve the excitation constraint of wide bandgap ZnSe by co-incorporation of Eu3+/Mn2+ codopants, enabling the QDs to be excited at a wide UV-visible range. The QDs displayed tunable emission colors by a gradual increase in Eu3+ concentration at a fixed amount of Mn2+, systematically enhancing the Mn2+ emission intensity via energy transfer from the Eu3+ to Mn2+ ion. The ZnSe:Eu3+/Mn2+@ZnS QDs presented high cell viability above 85% and induced no cell activation. The detailed analyses of QDs-treated cells by dual mode fluorescence CytoViva microscopy confirmed the systematic color-tunable fluorescence and its intensity enhances as a function of incubation time. The QDs were internalized by the cells predominantly via macropinocytosis and other lipid raft-mediated endocytic pathways, retaining an efficient amount for 24 h. The unique color tunability and consistent high intensity emission make these QDs useful for developing a multiplex fluorescent bionanoprobe, activatable in wide-visible region.
Khan ZU, Uchiyama MK, Khan LU, Araki K, Goto H, Felinto MCFC, et al. Wide visible-range activatable fluorescence ZnSe:Eu3+/Mn2+@ZnS quantum dots: local atomic structure order and application as a nanoprobe for bioimaging. J. Mater. Chem. B. 2022 ;10(2):247-261. doi:10.1039/D1TB01870A.
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