Green synthesis of cadmium telluride type II multi shell quantum dots for biolabelling
The synthesis of water soluble CdTe, CdTe/CdSe and CdTe/CdSe/ZnSe nanoparticles (NPs) and their optical, cytotoxicity as well as imaging properties are presented. The synthesis was carried out under ambient conditions in the absence of an inert environment and involved the use of potassium tellurite (K2TeO3) and sodium selenosulphate (Na2SeSO4) as a stable tellurium and selenium precursor respectively, while mercaptopropanoic acid (MPA) was used as capping agents. In this method, the CdTe NPs were prepared by the addition of tellurium source solution to MPA-cadmium complex solution at different pH while keeping other parameters constant. The formation of the shell (CdSe) and multi shell (CdSe/ZnSe) were achieved by adding desired precursors to the growing CdTe core NPs at one hour interval. The temporal evolution of the optical properties and stability of the growing nanocrystals was monitored in detail by varying the refluxing time, pH and storing the NPs under ambient condition for several days. The as-prepared NPs were characterised using UV-Vis absorption and photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM). The formation of the shells was indicated by an immediate change in the colour of the reaction solutions after the addition of the desired precursor and the shift in the absorption wavelength towards red-region. The optical analyses showed an enhancement in the fluorescent intensity after the addition of the shell solution accompanied by red-shifting of the absorption and emission maximum. The stability study revealed an increase in the emission intensity as the ageing days increased. The stability study of the NPs in air at room temperature show highly improved stability of the core-shell NPs than the core. The TEM analysis showed that the materials are small, monodispersed, spherical and highly crystalline. The cytotoxicity of the NPs was investigated on LM 8 and KM-Luc/ GFP cell line using an MTT protocol at different concentrations. The cell viability show significant improvement after the shell formation with CdTe/CdSe/ZnSe core multi shell NPs having the highest cell viability at higher concentration (60 μg/mL). Furthermore a decrease in cytotoxicity is revealed with increase in reaction time, thus NPs prepared at longer (7 h) reaction time showed lower cytotoxicity compared with those prepared at shorter (0.5 h) reaction time. The confocal laser microscope image of the cells after the addition of the as-synthesised NPs confirmed the transfection of the NPs by KM-Luc/GFP cell line, indicating that the NPs have been endocytosis. This study demonstrates the great potential of the as-synthesised core-multi shell nanoparticles for biological and any applications that require efficiency, high fluorescence intensity and stability.