[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Photoinduced fluorescence enhancement of colloidal quantum dots (QDs) is a hot topic addressed in many studies due to its great influence on the bioanalytical performance of such nanoparticles. However, understanding of this process is not a simple task, and it cannot be explained by a general mechanism as it greatly depends on the QDs' nature, solubilization strategies, surrounding environment, etc. In this vein, we have critically compared the behavior of CdSe QDs (widely used in bioanalytical applications) with different surface modifications (ligand exchange and polymer coating), in different controlled experimental conditions, in the presence-absence of the ZnS layer and in different media when exposed for long times to intense UV irradiation. Thus six different types of colloidal QDs were finally studied. This research was carried out from a novel perspective, based on the analysis of the dynamic behavior of the photoactivation process (of great interest for further applications of QDs as labels in biomedical applications). The results showed a different behavior of the studied colloidal QDs after UV irradiation in terms of their photoluminescence characteristics, potential toxicity due to metal release to the environment, nanoparticle stability and surface coating degradation.