The principal aim of this project is to create a new class of fluorophore materials that have quantum-dot like emission properties but do not contain any toxic elements. Bright emitting fluorophores are needed for newly emerging applications such as cellular and molecular imaging, and semiconductor quantum dot nanoparticles have many valuable attributes as potent fluorophores. However, there are serious emerging concerns with the safety of these nanoparticles due to the toxic elements and compounds they are made from. Our new materials will avoid the potential safety drawbacks of semiconductor nanoparticles by offering a platform material with quantum dot-like emission properties lacking the toxic metals present in nanoparticulate semiconductor quantum dots. Our new materials are readily modifiable for different applications as superior fluorophores for biological and biomedical labeling. In Phase I we completed a pilot study of our new materials, and in Phase II studies we will conduct larger-scale syntheses, full purification and detailed characterization our new materials. We will use the knowledge gained in Phase I to synthesize quantum dot materials more advanced and better performing than those demonstrated in Phase I. We will then evaluate important properties of our materials including quantum yields, photostability, and cytotoxicity, followed by critical comparison of the results to standard fluorophore dye molecules and nanoparticle agents. These steps will enable biomedical and commercial development of our new class of non-metal quantum dot fluorophore materials.
This research and development project will create a new class of highly potent and non-toxic fluorescent agents. These new materials will be useful for improving the diagnosis of disease and other conditions in tests with biomedical samples and eventually in patients.