U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Quantum Dot Thermometers Measure Temperatures Inside Single Living Cells
Published: May 16, 2011
Posted: October 31, 2011

Small temperature differences inside individual cells affect kinetics and shift chemical equilibria, but also alter the physical state of biomaterials such as DNA and proteins. Technology for detecting such temperature variations could lead to insights into biological mechanisms related to a wide range of metabolic processes in bioenergy-relevant systems. New research has shown that quantum dots can serve as nano thermometers to measure local temperature responses inside single living cells following exposure to external chemical and physical stimuli. Quantum dots are semiconductors in the form of crystals that fluoresce with colors determined by crystal size and chemical composition. The spectral shifts in the photoluminescence produced by the quantum dots were used to map intracellular heat generation from different organelles and compartments in cells following exposure to stress from high calcium levels and cold shock. These results are the first experimental evidence for inhomogeneous intracellular temperature progression in cells. The research was carried out at the Berkeley Lab and Princeton University and published in ACS Nano.

Reference: Yang, J.-M., H. Yang, and L. Lin. 2011. "Quantum Dot Nano Thermometers Reveal Heterogeneous Local Thermogenesis in Living Cells," ACS Nano 5(6), 5067-71. (DOI: 10.1021/nn201142f) (Reference link)

Contact: Arthur Katz, SC-23.2, (301) 903-4932
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Genomic Analysis and Systems Biology
  • Research Area: Sustainable Biofuels and Bioproducts
  • Research Area: Research Technologies and Methodologies

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)