Biomedical Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
Quantum Dot Methods for Cellular
Gabriel A. Silva
Nanotechnology and nanoengineering have the potential to produce signifi cant sci-
entifi c and technological advances in diverse fi elds, including biology and medi-
cine. In a broad sense, they can be defi ned as the science and engineering involved
in the design, syntheses, characterization, and application of materials and devices
whose smallest functional organization in at least one dimension is on the nanome-
ter scale, ranging from a few to several hundred nanometers. A nanometer is one
billionth of a meter or three orders of magnitude smaller than a micron, roughly the
size scale of a molecule itself (e.g., a DNA molecule is about 2.5-nm long while a
sodium atom is about 0.2 nm). The potential impact of nanotechnology stems
directly from the spatial and temporal scales being considered: materials and devices
engineered at the nanometer scale imply controlled manipulation of individual con-
stituent molecules and atoms in how they are arranged to form the bulk macroscopic
substrate. This, in turn, results in nanoengineered substrates and devices that can be
designed to exhibit specifi c and controlled bulk chemical and physical properties as
a result of the control over their molecular synthesis and assembly.
This chapter is an adaptation of a review written by the author in Progress in
Brain Research (Silva 2009 ), which collected a number of primary studies and pub-
lished reviews by the author and colleagues into a single manuscript focusing on
functionalized quantum dot imaging and specifi c labeling of neural cells and tis-
sues, including both neurons and various types of glial cells (Pathak et al. 2006,
2007, 2009 ; Silva 2004, 2006 ) . Specifi cally, this chapter discusses work done by the
author's lab to optimize protocols for specifi c labeling and imaging of fi xed,
G. A. Silva ( * )
Departments of Bioengineering and Ophthalmology and Neurosciences Program,
University of California, San Diego , CA , USA
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