Near-complete suppression of quantum dot blinking in ambient conditions

J Am Chem Soc. 2004 Feb 11;126(5):1324-5. doi: 10.1021/ja039686w.


Colloidal semiconductor quantum dots are attractive fluorophores for multicolor imaging because of broad absorption and narrow emission spectra, and they are brighter and far more photostable than organic dyes. However, severe intermittence in emission (also known as blinking) has been universally observed from single dots and has been considered an intrinsic limitation difficult to overcome. This is unfortunate because growing applications in spectroscopy of single biological molecules and quantum information processing using single photon sources could greatly benefit from long-lasting and nonblinking single-molecule emitters. For instance, in a recent application of single-dot imaging, the tracking of membrane receptors was interrupted frequently due to the stroboscopic nature of recording. Blinking can also reduce the brightness in ensemble imaging via signal saturation. Here we show that the quantum dot blinking can be suppressed with the emission duty cycle approaching 100% while maintaining biocompatibility.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry*
  • Biotinylation
  • Cadmium Compounds / chemistry
  • Colloids / chemistry
  • Mercaptoethanol / chemistry
  • Quantum Dots*
  • Selenium Compounds / chemistry
  • Semiconductors
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine / chemistry
  • Streptavidin / chemistry
  • Sulfides / chemistry
  • Zinc Compounds / chemistry


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Cadmium Compounds
  • Colloids
  • Selenium Compounds
  • Sulfides
  • Zinc Compounds
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine
  • Mercaptoethanol
  • Streptavidin
  • cadmium selenide
  • zinc sulfide