Development of a high throughput single-particle screening for inorganic semiconductor nanorods as neural voltage sensor

Yung Kuo, Kyoungwon Park, Jack Li, Antonino Ingargiola, Joonhyuck Park, Volodymyr Shvadchak, Shimon Weiss

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Monitoring membrane potential in neurons requires sensors with minimal invasiveness, high spatial and temporal (sub-ms) resolution, and large sensitivity for enabling detection of sub-threshold activities. While organic dyes and fluorescent proteins have been developed to possess voltage-sensing properties, photobleaching, cytotoxicity, low sensitivity, and low spatial resolution have obstructed further studies. Semiconductor nanoparticles (NPs), as prospective voltage sensors, have shown excellent sensitivity based on Quantum confined Stark effect (QCSE) at room temperature and at single particle level. Both theory and experiment have shown their voltage sensitivity can be increased significantly via material, bandgap, and structural engineering. Based on theoretical calculations, we synthesized one of the optimal candidates for voltage sensors: 12 nm type-II ZnSe/CdS nanorods (NRs), with an asymmetrically located seed. The voltage sensitivity and spectral shift were characterized in vitro using spectrally-resolved microscopy using electrodes grown by thin film deposition, which "sandwich" the NRs. We characterized multiple batches of such NRs and iteratively modified the synthesis to achieve higher voltage sensitivity (ΔF/F> 10%), larger spectral shift (>5 nm), better homogeneity, and better colloidal stability. Using a high throughput screening method, we were able to compare the voltage sensitivity of our NRs with commercial spherical quantum dots (QDs) with single particle statistics. Our method of high throughput screening with spectrally-resolved microscope also provides a versatile tool for studying single particles spectroscopy under field modulation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiosensing and Nanomedicine X
EditorsManijeh Razeghi, Massoud H. Agahi, Massoud H. Agahi, Hooman Mohseni
ISBN (Electronic)9781510611610
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
EventBiosensing and Nanomedicine X 2017 - San Diego, United States
Duration: 6 Aug 20177 Aug 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceBiosensing and Nanomedicine X 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2107 SPIE.


  • Quantum Dot
  • action potential
  • nanorod
  • neuron
  • quantum confined Stark effect
  • voltage sensor


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