Synthesis strategies and application of ternary quantum dots — in cancer therapy

Olanrewaju A. Aladesuyi, Oluwatobi S. Oluwafemi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Semiconductor nanoparticles also known as quantum dots (QDs) have continued to receive more attention from researchers due to their unique optical, magnetic and photo physical properties which made them useful as biomedical materials, solar cells, catalyst etc. However, ternary I–III–VI QDs have shown to be a safer alternative to the binary II–VI or IV–VI QDs due to the absent of heavy toxic elements such as Cd and Pb. Cancer management and therapy in Africa has been bedevilled by a lot of challenges such as inaccurate diagnosis and ineffective therapeutic methods. Therefore, the need to develop an appropriate approach for cancer detection and treatment is of paramount importance. Tunable optical properties and absorption in the near infra-red region of the ternary QDs makes them useful as fluorescent probes in cancer detection and treatment. They have the ability to detect specific cancer cells including those that are not easily detected by modern imaging technique. Also, properties such as non-bleaching, stability, water solubility etc. made them a desirable fluorophore when compared to conventional dyes. Most cancer drugs suffer from inherent shortcomings such as limited absorption, insolubility and aggregation. However, these shortcomings can be overcome when these drugs are applied in form of conjugated systems. The use of QDs as conjugates has revolutionise the treatment of cancer in the 21st century. This review provides information about the synthesis strategies, optical properties, hydrophilization and bioconjugation of ternary I–III–VI QDs. Furthermore, we described the various biomedical applications in biosensors, bioimaging, drug delivery and phototherapeutic techniques. Finally, we looked at the challenges and future perspective of these QDs in cancer management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100568
JournalNano-Structures and Nano-Objects
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Bioconjugate
  • Bioimaging
  • Biosensors
  • Drug delivery
  • Hydrophilization
  • Ternary QDs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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