Highly luminescent semiconductor quantum dots (zinc sulfide-capped cadmium selenide) have been covalently coupled to biomolecules for use in ultrasensitive biological detection. In comparison with organic dyes such as rhodamine, this class of luminescent labels is 20 times as bright, 100 times as stable against photobleaching, and one-third as wide in spectral linewidth. These nanometer-sized conjugates are water-soluble and biocompatible. Quantum dots that were labeled with the protein transferrin underwent receptor-mediated endocytosis in cultured HeLa cells, and those dots that were labeled with immunomolecules recognized specific antibodies or antigens.
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