Protocol | Published:

Synthesis of functionalized amphiphilic polymers for coating quantum dots

Nature Protocols volume 6, pages 15461553 (2011) | Download Citation

Abstract

Quantum dots (QDs) need to be attached to other chemical species if they are to be used as biomarkers, therapeutic agents or sensors. These materials also need to disperse well in water and have well-defined functional groups on their surfaces. QDs are most often synthesized in the presence of ligands such as trioctylphosphine oxide, which render the nanoparticle surfaces hydrophobic. We present a complete protocol for the synthesis and water solubilization of hydrophobic CdSe/ZnS QDs using designer amphiphilic polymeric coatings. The method is based on functionalization of an anhydride polymer backbone with nucleophilic agents. Small functional groups, bulky cyclic compounds and polymeric chains can be integrated into the coating prior to solubilization. We describe the preparation of acetylene- and azide-functionalized QDs for 'click' chemistry. The method is universal and applicable to any type of nanoparticle stabilized with hydrophobic ligands able to interact with the alkyl chains in the coating in water.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering of A*STAR, Singapore, for providing financial support.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research), Singapore.

    • Dominik Jańczewski
    • , Nikodem Tomczak
    • , Ming-Yong Han
    •  & G Julius Vancso
  2. Division of Bioengineering, Faculty of Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore.

    • Ming-Yong Han
  3. Permanent address: Department of Materials Science and Technology of Polymers, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Twente, MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, Enschede, The Netherlands.

    • G Julius Vancso

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Contributions

All authors contributed extensively to the work presented in this paper. D.J. and N.T. designed the experiments, tested the protocols, carried out the synthetic procedures and edited the paper. M.-Y.H. and G.J.V. designed the experiments, analyzed data and wrote the manuscript. All authors discussed the results and implications and commented on the manuscript at all stages.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to G Julius Vancso.

Supplementary information

Image files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Fig. 1

    Photograph taken during step 5 of the quantum dot synthesis.

PDF files

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    Supplementary Fig. 2

    Diagram showing the quantum dot synthesis setup.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nprot.2011.381

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