Silicon Quantum Dot Optical Probes

Physical Sciences : Materials and Compounds

Available for licensing


  • Brian Korgel, Ph.D. , Chemical Engineering
  • Yixuan Yu , University of Texas at Austin
  • Paola Ceroni , University of Bologna
  • Giacomo Bergamini , University of Bologna
  • Mirko Locritani , University of Bologna

Background/unmet need

Very few near-infrared light emitters exist, and these have very low emission quantum yields and also low brightness. There are some quantum dots that emit near-infrared light, but most of these are composed of toxic elements. There is a need for bright light emitters that are not toxic and emit in the red to near-infrared wavelength range, especially for biological imaging applications.

Invention Description

Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin have developed a way to increase the light absorption of the quantum dots, while retaining the unique light-emitting properties of the quantum dots leading to a significantly brighter material.


    These materials provide extremely bright light-emitting quantum dots in the far-red to near-infrared wavelength regions.


  • Tunable light emission from red to near infrared wavelengths
  • Non-toxic
  • Extremely bright with high quantum yields (>40%)
  • Surfaces can be modified with biological targeting molecules
  • Long luminescence lifetimes to enable time-gated imaging methods

Market potential/applications

Biological imaging and medical imaging/diagnostics, displays, chemical sensors

Development Stage

Lab/bench prototype

IP Status

  • 1 foreign patent application filed
  • 1 U.S. patent application filed