Quantum dots for in vivo small-animal imaging

Laurent A. Bentolila, Yuval Ebenstein, Shimon Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Nanotechnology is poised to transform research, prevention, and treatment of cancer through the development of novel diagnostic imaging methods and targeted therapies. In particular, the use of nanoparticles for imaging has gained considerable momentum in recent years. This review focuses on the growing contribution of quantum dots (QDs) for in vivo imaging in small animal models. Fluorescent QDs, which are small nanocrystals (1-10 nm) made of inorganic semiconductor materials, possess several unique optical properties best suited for in vivo imaging. Because of quantum confinement effects, the emission color of QDs can be precisely tuned by size from the ultraviolet to the near-infrared. QDs are extremely bright and photostable. They are also characterized by a wide absorption band and a narrow emission band, which makes them ideal for multiplexing. Finally, the large surface area of QDs permits the assembly of various contrast agents to design multimodality imaging probes. To date, biocompatible QD conjugates have been used successfully for sentinel lymph node mapping, tumor targeting, tumor angiogenesis imaging, and metastatic cell tracking. Here we consider these novel breakthroughs in light of their potential clinical applications and discuss how QDs might offer a suitable platform to unite disparate imaging modalities and provide information along a continuum of length scales. COPYRIGHT

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-496
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Molecular imaging
  • Nanomedicine
  • Nanoparticles
  • Nanotechnology
  • Near-infrared fluorescence (nirf) imaging
  • Optical imaging
  • PET
  • Quantum dots


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