Quantum dot-based resonance energy transfer and its growing application in biology.

US Naval Research Laboratory, Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering, Code 6910, and Division of Optical Sciences, Code 5611, 4555 Overlook Ave, S.W. Washington DC, 20375, USA.
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics (Impact Factor: 4.2). 02/2009; 11(1):17-45. DOI: 10.1039/b813919a
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We provide an overview of the progress made in the past few years in investigating fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) using semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) and the application of QD-based FRET to probe specific biological processes. We start by providing some of the pertinent conceptual elements involved in resonance energy transfer, and then discuss why the Förster dipole-dipole mechanism applies to QD fluorophores. We then describe the unique QD photophysical properties of direct relevance to FRET and summarize the main advantages offered, along with some of the limitations encountered by QDs as exciton donors and/or acceptors. Next we describe the overall progress made and discuss a few representative examples where QD-based FRET sensing of specific biological processes has been demonstrated. We also detail some of the advances of single molecule FRET using QD-conjugates and highlight the unique information that can be extracted. We conclude by providing an assessment of where QD-based FRET investigations may be evolving in the near future.

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