E-mail: University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez
Department: Materials Science and Engineering
Advisor: Oscar Perales-Perez
AQUEOUS PROCESSING OF SEMICONDUCTOR QUANTUM DOTS FOR POTENTIAL BIO-MEDICAL APPLICATIONS
Nanoparticles (NP) and quantum dots (QDs) exhibit unique optical properties that make them promising candidates for nanomedicine applications, e.g. bioimaging, pathogen detection and photodynamic therapy (PDT). The optical properties of CdSe nanoparticles are desirable in bio-imaging and cell sorting applications because of their tunable photoluminescence at the visible range. Previous studies have already demonstrated that CdSe could be utilized for pathogen detection, but given the potential cytotoxicity of CdSe for biomedical applications, the use of inorganic oxides with known biocompatibility with humans, such as ZnO, has also been considered. Although the synthesis of ZnO as antimicrobial agents has been reported elsewhere, the used of ZnO NPs for pathogens detection limit are scarce or preliminary. Our scope is not only confirms the antimicrobial activity, but developed a coupling with the ZnO NPs to enhance the detection limit that is already report in the literature.
Based on the above considerations, the present research will assess the applicability of fluorescent Zn-based nanocrystals as probes for detection of pathogens with the aim of achieving extremely low detection limits. Cd-based quantum dots will be used to establish the proof-of-concept and will also be evaluated for comparison purposes only. The first part of the research will address the optimum functionalization of the QDs with ligand species specific to pathogens’ outer membrane. E. Coliwill be used as a first case-study. The conditions leading to the optimum QD-bacteria coupling will also be determined. Finally, the protocols for the highly-sensitive detection of pathogens using coupled QD-bacteria will be established.