Enhanced photoluminescence of boron nitride quantum dots by encapsulation within polymeric nanoparticles

Doaa Abu Saleh, Alejandro Sosnik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Boron nitride quantum dots (BNQDs) have been proposed as probes for bioimaging owing their to outstanding photoluminescent properties, although their hydrophobic nature and strong aggregation tendency in aqueous media limit their application in the biomedical field. In this work, we synthesize BNQDs by a liquid exfoliation-solvothermal process under pressure from boron nitride nanoparticles in N,N-dimethylformamide. The BNQDs display an average size of 3.3 ± 0.6 nm, as measured by transmission electron microscopy, and a (100) crystalline structure. In addition, a quantum yield of 21.75 ± 0.20% was achieved. To ensure complete dispersibility in water and prevent possible elimination by renal filtration upon injection, the BNQDs (20% w/w) are encapsulated within poly(ethylene glycol)-b-poly(epsilon-caprolactone) nanoparticles by a simple and scalable nanoprecipitation method, and hybrid nanocomposite particles with significantly stronger photoluminescence than their free counterparts are produced. Finally, their optimal cell compatibility and bioimaging features are demonstrated in vitro in murine macrophage and human rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number195104
Issue number19
StatePublished - 7 May 2021


  • 2D boron nitride
  • Boron nitride quantum dot nanoencapsulation
  • Boron nitride quantum dots
  • Cell compatibility and uptake
  • Photoluminescence
  • Poly (ethylene glycol)-block-poly(epsilon-caprolactone) copolymers
  • Polymeric nanoparticles

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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