Water-soluble quantum dots for multiphoton fluorescence imaging in vivo

Science. 2003 May 30;300(5624):1434-6. doi: 10.1126/science.1083780.


The use of semiconductor nanocrystals (quantum dots) as fluorescent labels for multiphoton microscopy enables multicolor imaging in demanding biological environments such as living tissue. We characterized water-soluble cadmium selenide-zinc sulfide quantum dots for multiphoton imaging in live animals. These fluorescent probes have two-photon action cross sections as high as 47,000 Goeppert-Mayer units, by far the largest of any label used in multiphoton microscopy. We visualized quantum dots dynamically through the skin of living mice, in capillaries hundreds of micrometers deep. We found no evidence of blinking (fluorescence intermittency) in solution on nanosecond to millisecond time scales.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Animals
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Cadmium Compounds*
  • Capillaries / anatomy & histology
  • Crystallization
  • Dextrans
  • Diagnostic Imaging*
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate / analogs & derivatives*
  • Fluorescence*
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Mice
  • Microscopy / methods*
  • Nanotechnology*
  • Photons
  • Selenium Compounds*
  • Semiconductors
  • Skin
  • Solubility
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Sulfides*
  • Water
  • Zinc Compounds*


  • Cadmium Compounds
  • Dextrans
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Selenium Compounds
  • Sulfides
  • Zinc Compounds
  • fluorescein isothiocyanate dextran
  • Water
  • cadmium selenide
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate
  • zinc sulfide