Semiconductor quantum dots for in vitro diagnostics and cellular imaging

Trends Biotechnol. 2012 Jul;30(7):394-403. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2012.04.005. Epub 2012 May 19.


The need for companion diagnostics, point-of-care testing (POCT) and high-throughput screening in clinical diagnostics and personalized medicine has pushed the need for more biological information from a single sample at extremely low concentrations and volumes. Optical biosensors based on semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) can answer these requirements because their unique photophysical properties are ideally suited for highly sensitive multiplexed detection. Many different biological systems have been successfully scrutinized with a large variety of QDs over the past decade but their future as widely applied commercial biosensors is still open. In this review, we highlight recent in vitro diagnostic and cellular imaging applications of QDs and discuss milestones and obstacles on their way toward integration into real-life diagnostic and medical applications.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biosensing Techniques*
  • Biotechnology
  • Cytological Techniques*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques*
  • Molecular Imaging
  • Point-of-Care Systems
  • Quantum Dots*
  • Semiconductors*