Quantum dots – Behaviour

Quantum dots can enter cells in vitro via different routes: non-specific internalisation by endocytosis, specific uptake mediated by biomolecules attached to the quantum dots surface, microinjection, electroporation, and possibly by inducing plasma membrane damage. The different uptake mechanisms largely depend on the surface modifications made to quantum dots [1-5].

A study demonstrated that Quantum Dots can cross the blood-brain-barrier to a small extend via the blood stream and end up into the brain tissue.

In future, quantum dots could be used in medicine for cancer therapy. With the help of certain coatings, the nanoparticles should be able to selectively accumulate in the tumour tissue and at the same time prevent nonspecific deposition in organs such as the liver and spleen. For a safe medical application it is equally important to ensure the excretion of any kind of any drug or nanoparticle injected into the body after a reasonable amount of time [1,2].

Quantum Dots often consist of a heavy metal core with a coating of organic substances which are intended to stabilise the particles. Because of their production and use, they are present almost only in aqueous suspensions; hence, the studies deal exclusively with the behaviour in water. The behaviour of Quantum Dots in the aquatic environment is largely determined by the solubility of the metal components.


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