Applications of colloidal semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) have recently begun to move from the laboratory into the commercial sector. This article provides a brief description of QDs and their associated optical properties, highlighting the concept that QD size is now a parameter used to tune photophysical properties. Additionally, three major applications of QDs are discussed: biological imaging, photovoltaic devices, and light-emitting devices. Progress in each area is highlighted, as well as potential advantages over existing technologies when QD products are realized. Finally, some of the challenges to the further development of QDs for each respective application and in the field overall are addressed.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(11)70182-1