Quantum Dot [Technology]

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Anecdotal observations by John Thomas

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Quantum dots: are semiconductor particles a few nanometres in size, having optical and electronic properties that differ from larger particles due to quantum mechanics.

When the quantum dots are illuminated by UV light, an electron in the quantum dot can be excited to a state of higher energy. Quantum dots are sometimes referred to as artificial atoms, emphasizing their singularity, having bound, discrete electronic states, like naturally occurring atoms or molecules.

By coupling two or more such quantum dots an artificial molecule can be made, exhibiting hybridization.

It had previously been shown that genetically engineered viruses can recognize specific semiconductor surfaces. the specific recognition properties of the virus can be used to organize inorganic nanocrystals.

Many studies have focused on the mechanism of QD cytotoxicity using model cell cultures. It has been demonstrated that after exposure to ultraviolet radiation or oxidation QDs release free cadmium [heavy metal ion] causing cell death.

Quantum dots can have antibacterial properties similar to nanoparticles and can kill bacteria in a dose-dependent manner.[74] One mechanism by which quantum dots can kill bacteria is through impairing the functions of antioxidative system in the cells and down regulating the antioxidative genes.

In addition, quantum dots can directly damage the cell wall. Quantum dots have been shown to be effective against both gram- positive and gram-negative bacteria.

While significant research efforts have broadened the understanding of toxicity of QDs, there are large discrepancies in the literature and questions still remains to be answered.

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