Advances in semiconductor nanocolloids have provided a new set of materials with unique optical and electrical properties, which recently have grabbed biologists and biomedical engineers' attention for applications such as biolabels, biosensors, and image-contrast agents. These nanosemiconductors have also been used to fabricate devices for applications such as drug delivery and medical therapeutics. In this review, we introduce some of the latest examples of semiconducting nanostructures that have been applied successfully to problems in biotechnology, with a special focus on biosensing and bioimaging. We first describe how to take advantage of the optical properties of semiconductor quantum dots in these two research fields. In addition, we give a brief introduction to biosensors based on field-effect transistors (FETs) made of one-dimensional semiconductor nanowires and carbon nanotubes. Finally, we discuss the future development of semiconductor nanomaterials in the biological field.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(05)00892-8