Mitigation of quantum dot cytotoxicity by microencapsulation
When CdSe/ZnS-polyethyleneimine (PEI) quantum dots (QDs) are microencapsulated in polymeric microcapsules, human fibroblasts are protected from acute cytotoxic effects. Differences in cellular morphology, uptake, and viability were assessed after treatment with either microencapsulated or unencapsulated dots. Specifically, QDs contained in microcapsules terminated with polyethylene glycol (PEG) mitigate contact with and uptake by cells, thus providing a tool to retain particle luminescence for applications such as extracellular sensing and imaging. The microcapsule serves as the “first line of defense” for containing the QDs. This enables the individual QD coating to be designed primarily to enhance the function of the biosensor.