Semiconductor Quantum Dots as Target Analytes: Properties, Surface Chemistry and Detection

Nanomaterials (Basel). 2022 Jul 21;12(14):2501. doi: 10.3390/nano12142501.


Since the discovery of Quantum Dots (QDs) by Alexey I. Ekimov in 1981, the interest of researchers in that particular type of nanomaterials (NMs) with unique optical and electrical properties has been increasing year by year. Thus, since 2009, the number of scientific articles published on this topic has not been less than a thousand a year. The increasing use of QDs due to their biomedical, pharmaceutical, biological, photovoltaics or computing applications, as well as many other high-tech uses such as for displays and solid-state lighting (SSL), has given rise to a considerable number of studies about its potential toxicity. However, there are a really low number of reported studies on the detection and quantification of QDs, and these include ICP-MS and electrochemical analysis, which are the most common quantification techniques employed for this purpose. The knowledge of chemical phenomena occurring on the surface of QDs is crucial for understanding the interactions of QDs with species dissolved in the dispersion medium, while it paves the way for a widespread use of chemosensors to facilitate its detection. Keeping in mind both human health and environmental risks of QDs as well as the scarcity of analytical techniques and methodological approaches for their detection, the adaptation of existing techniques and methods used with other NMs appears necessary. In order to provide a multidisciplinary perspective on QD detection, this review focused on three interrelated key aspects of QDs: properties, surface chemistry and detection.

Keywords: QDs; composition; detection; properties; size; surface chemistry.

Publication types

  • Review