Theranostics 2013; 3(2):109-115. doi:10.7150/thno.5133

Short Research Communication

Synthesis of Luminescent Near-Infrared AgInS2 Nanocrystals as Optical Probes for In Vivo Applications

Liwei Liu1, Rui Hu2, Indrajit Roy3, Guimiao Lin2, Ling Ye4, Jessica L. Reynolds5, Jianwei Liu4, Jing Liu4, Stanley A. Schwartz5, Xihe Zhang1✉, Ken-Tye Yong2✉

1. School of Science, Changchun University of Science and Technology, Changchun, 130022, P.R. China.
2. School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639798, Singapore.
3. Department of Chemistry, University of Delhi, Delhi-110007, India.
4. Institute of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Laboratory Animal Center, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing 100853, PR China.
5. Division of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo, Innovation Center, 640 Ellicott Street, Buffalo, NY 14203, USA.


Near infrared quantum dots have been receiving great attention as fluorescent optical probes for in vivo imaging applications. In this contribution, we report the synthesis and surface functionalization of cadmium free ternary AgInS2 nanocrystals emitting in the near infrared range for successful in vitro and in vivo bioimaging applications. The FDA approved triblock copolymer Pluronic F127 was used to encapsulate the nanocrystals and made them dispersible in aqueous solution. By employing a whole body small animal optical imaging setup, we were able to use the AgInS2 nanocrystals formulation for passive targeted delivery to the tumor site. The ultra-small crystal size, near-infrared emitting luminescence, and high quantum yield make the AgInS2 nanocrystals an attractive candidate as a biological contrast agent for cancer sensing and imaging.

Keywords: Near infrared quantum dots, Bioimaging, Surface functionalization, Targeted delivery, Nanotoxicity.

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How to cite this article:
Liu L, Hu R, Roy I, Lin G, Ye L, Reynolds JL, Liu J, Liu J, Schwartz SA, Zhang X, Yong KT. Synthesis of Luminescent Near-Infrared AgInS2 Nanocrystals as Optical Probes for In Vivo Applications. Theranostics 2013; 3(2):109-115. doi:10.7150/thno.5133. Available from