Analytical Sciences

Abstract − Analytical Sciences, 30(5), 545 (2014).

CdSe/ZnS Quantum Dots Conjugated with a Fluorescein Derivative: a FRET-based pH Sensor for Physiological Alkaline Conditions
Tomokazu KURABAYASHI, Nayuta FUNAKI, Takeshi FUKUDA, Shinnosuke AKIYAMA, and Miho SUZUKI
Department of Functional Materials Science, Saitama University, 255 Shimo-Okubo, Sakura, Saitama 338-8570, Japan
Dual pH-dependent fluorescence peaks from a semiconductor quantum dot (QD) and a pH-dependent fluorescent dye can be measured by irradiating with a single wavelength light, and the pH can be estimated from the ratio of the fluorescent intensity of the two peaks. In this work, ratiometric pH sensing was achieved in an aqueous environment by a fluorescent CdSe/ZnS QD appended with a pH-sensitive organic dye, based on fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). By functionalizing the CdSe/ZnS QD with 5-(and 6)-carboxynaphthofluorescein succinimidyl ester as a pH-dependent fluorescent dye, we succeeded in fabricating sensitive nanocomplexes with a linear response to a broad range of physiological pH levels (7.5 – 9.5) when excited at 450 nm. We found that a purification process is important for increasing the high-fluorescence intensity ratio of a ratiometric fluorescence pH-sensor, and the fluorescence intensity ratio was improved up to 1.0 at pH 8.0 after the purification process to remove unreacted CdSe/ZnS QDs even though the fluorescence of the dye could not be observed without the purification process. The fluorescence intensity ratio corresponds to the fluorescence intensity of the dye, and this fluorescent dye exhibited pH-dependent fluorescence intensity changes. These facts indicate that the fluorescence intensity ratio linearly increased with increasing pH value of the buffer solution containing the QD and the dye. The FRET efficiencies changed from 0.3 (pH 7.5) to 6.2 (pH 9.5).