Through optical bioimaging we can obtain information about biological interactions at a molecular level exploiting a signal that can be easily visualized by an operator. To do so luminescent markers are usually used as probes that interacts with a target.
Silicon quantum dots have several peculiar photo physical properties such as biocompatibility, penetrating infrared emission and long emission lifetimes that are useful for some applications.
The latter, for instance, enables time-gating imaging. By applying a certain delay when reading a signal from a stimulated emission of a biological probe it is possible to dramatically improve the signal to noise ratio and obtain up to 100 fold definition enhancement.
Time gating with silicon QDs requires microsecond gating instrumentation that is 20 time less expensive than nanoseconds detectors.
Light-guided surgery is a technique that can provide real-time image guidance to surgeons that needs to discriminate between healthy and ill tissues that need to be resected.
By means of luminescent probes, tissues like blood vessels and nerve can be evidenced and avoided during surgery.
SiQDs emission in the infrared region can be exploited to obtain higher tissue penetration and can help to visualize areas of interest deeper in the body.