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Nano Rev. 2011;2. doi: 10.3402/nano.v2i0.5895. Epub 2011 Feb 11.

Probing and controlling fluorescence blinking of single semiconductor nanoparticles.

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Research Center for Applied Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.


In this review we present an overview of the experimental and theoretical development on fluorescence intermittency (blinking) and the roles of electron transfer in semiconductor crystalline nanoparticles. Blinking is a very interesting phenomenon commonly observed in single molecule/particle experiments. Under continuous laser illumination, the fluorescence time trace of these single nanoparticles exhibit random light and dark periods. Since its first observation in the mid-1990s, this intriguing phenomenon has attracted wide attention among researchers from many disciplines. We will first present the historical background of the discovery and the observation of unusual inverse power-law dependence for the waiting time distributions of light and dark periods. Then, we will describe our theoretical modeling efforts to elucidate the causes for the power-law behavior, to probe the roles of electron transfer in blinking, and eventually to control blinking and to achieve complete suppression of the blinking, which is an annoying feature in many applications of quantum dots as light sources and fluorescence labels for biomedical imaging.


Auger relaxation; blinking; confocal microscopy; electron transfer; fluorescence intermittency; nanoscience; quantum dot; single molecule

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