UbiQD Quantum Dots- Part 3 of 3: New Frontiers in the Near-IR Spectrum

UbiQD Quantum Dots- Part 3 of 3: New Frontiers in the Near-IR Spectrum

This blog is the final blog in our three-part series about UbiQD and the products we sell in collaboration. We have surveyed the standard applications of QDs in our first blog. In our second blog, we have shown how these QDs, as luminescent films, can work wonders for modern agriculture. For this final blog, we will delve into the near-IR realm of the spectrum. Two of our products, 29-8540 and 29-8550, with peak emissions at 800 nm and 950 nm, respectively, have useful applications in photodynamic therapy (PDT).1

Photodynamic therapy makes use of photosensitizers, which are molecules that facilitate a chemical change in another molecule photochemically.2 Last year, reports came out indicating that iridium attached to albumin can create a photosensitized molecule.3 This iridium-albumin molecule is able to then penetrate cancer cells. Upon exposure to light, singlet oxygen is generated, and cancer cells are destroyed.3

Photosensitizers, however, are not limited to discrete, bulk molecules. QDs have been recognized as having photosensitizer potential for years.4-6 According to the Bakalova report,1 five characteristics define a good photosensitizer: (1) a compound with constant composition; (2) easy to synthesize from readily available starting materials; (3) non-toxic, in the absence of light; (4) target specificity; (5) efficient energy transfer for the formation of singlet oxygen. QDs generally meet these criteria, apart from CdSe- or Pb-based QDs which are toxic. The use of UbiQD QDs, which are copper indium disulfide/zinc sulfide based, as a replacement negates this toxicity satisfying item #3 in this list.

The near-IR QDs are of particular interest in the field of photodynamic therapy. “Because there is minimal light scattering and absorption in the near-IR region of the spectrum, light of low intensity can be used to penetrate tissue to depths of several centimeters, thereby allowing access to deep-seated tumors.”1 The article goes on to highlight that the toxicity of CdSe quantum dots can limit their therapeutic applications (recall from blog 1, that UV-radiation of CdSe QDs can release free cadmium).7 The copper indium disulfide/zinc sulfide composition of these UbiQD QDs, makes them strong candidates for photodynamic therapy.

The near-IR QDs are not limited to a photodynamic application either. In their ACS Nano publication,8 UbiQD demonstrated how near-IR QDs can function as luminescent concentrators (LCs). These LCs, which traditionally harvest sunlight and convert its energy into electricity,9,10 can be coupled with optical fibers for emissions ranging from visible light to the near-IR spectrum. Think of this product as an all-in-one optical fiber coupled LC (FC-LC) that can span the agriculture applications discussed previously, the photodynamic therapy shown above, and telecommunication technologies as well. For telecommunication, these FC-LCs improve the signal-to-noise ratio, which can greatly improve autonomous vehicles and quality of LiFi (a wireless communication technology that uses light instead of radio frequencies to transmit data).

From lasers and inkjet printing, to modern agriculture, photodynamic therapy, and even telecommunications, these tiny QDs represent a massive area of research in a field that will continue to advance society.  As the technology matures and more applications for QDs are  discovered, the real question remains, what will you be using UbiQD quantum dots for?

Product Availability:

Catalog # Peak Emission (nm)
29-8500 550 ± 10
29-8510 590 ± 10
29-8520 630 ± 10
29-8530 680 ± 10
29-8540 800 ± 10
29-8550 950 ± 10



1. Nature Biotechnology, 2004, 22, 1360–1361.

2. IUPAC Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2009.

3. Angew. Chem., 2019, 58, 2350.

4. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2003, 125, 15736.

5. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2004, 126, 301.

6. Nat. Mater., 2003, 2, 575.

7. Nano. Letters, 2004, 4, 11.

8. ACS Nano, 2019, 13, 9112.

9. Appl. Phys., 1977, 14, 123.

10. Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells, 2011, 95, 2087.


Products mentioned in this blog:

29-8500: Copper Indium Disulfide/Zinc Sulfide Quantum Dots, Peak Emission 550nm ± 10nm, QY > 75% (927198-36-5)
29-8510: Copper Indium Disulfide/Zinc Sulfide Quantum Dots, Peak Emission 590nm ± 10nm, QY > 75% (927198-36-5)
29-8520: Copper Indium Disulfide/Zinc Sulfide Quantum Dots, Peak Emission 630nm ± 10nm, QY > 75% (927198-36-5)
29-8530: Copper Indium Disulfide/Zinc Sulfide Quantum Dots, Peak Emission 680nm ± 10nm, QY > 75% (927198-36-5)
29-8540: Copper Indium Disulfide/Zinc Sulfide Quantum Dots, Peak Emission 800nm ± 10nm, QY > 75% (927198-36-5)
29-8550: Copper Indium Disulfide/Zinc Sulfide Quantum Dots, Peak Emission 950nm ± 10nm, QY > 75% (927198-36-5)


Related Product Lines & Resources:

Quantum Dots
Nanomaterials Booklet
Copper Indium Disulfide/ Zinc Sulfide Quantum Dots Brochure



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