Nanophotonics (May 2021)

Enhanced electric field sensitivity of quantum dot/rod two-photon fluorescence and its relevance for cell transmembrane voltage imaging

  • Jooken Stijn,
  • de Coene Yovan,
  • Deschaume Olivier,
  • Zámbó Dániel,
  • Aubert Tangi,
  • Hens Zeger,
  • Dorfs Dirk,
  • Verbiest Thierry,
  • Clays Koen,
  • Callewaert Geert,
  • Bartic Carmen

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10, no. 9
pp. 2407 – 2420


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The optoelectronic properties of semiconductor nanoparticles make them valuable candidates for the long-term monitoring of transmembrane electric fields in excitable cells. In this work, we show that the electric field sensitivity of the fluorescence intensity of type-I and quasi-type-II quantum dots and quantum rods is enhanced under two-photon excitation compared to single-photon excitation. Based on the superior electric field sensitivity of the two-photon excited fluorescence, we demonstrate the ability of quantum dots and rods to track fast switching E-fields. These findings indicate the potential of semiconductor nanoparticles as cellular voltage probes in multiphoton imaging.