Surfactant-Assisted Synthesis of Water-Soluble and Biocompatible Semiconductor Quantum Dot Micelles

We report a simple, rapid approach to synthesize water-soluble and biocompatible fluorescent quantum dot (QD) micelles by encapsulation of monodisperse, hydrophobic QDs within surfactant/lipid micelles. Analyses of UV−vis and photo luminescence spectra, along with transmission electron microscopy, indicate that the water-soluble semiconductor QD micelles are monodisperse and retain the optical properties of the original hydrophobic QDs. The QD micelles were shown to be biocompatible and exhibited little or no aggregation when taken up by cultured rat hippocampal neurons.