Fluorescent semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) have attracted tremendous attention over the last
decade. The superior optical properties of QDs over conventional organic dyes make them attractive labels for
a wide variety of biomedical applications, whereas their potential toxicity and instability in biological
environment have puzzled scientific researchers. Much research effort has been devoted to surface
modification and functionalization of QDs to make them versatile probes for biomedical applications, and
significant progress has been made over the last several years. This review article aims to describe the current
state-of-the-art of the synthesis, modification, bioconjugation, and applications of QDs for in vivo targeted
imaging. In addition, QD-based multifunctional nanoprobes are also summarized.
Keywords: Cancer nanotechnology, molecular imaging, multimodality imaging, nanoparticles (NPs), near-infrared
fluorescence (NIRF), quantum dots (QDs).
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