A semiconductor nanocrystal compound is described capable of linking to an affinity molecule. The compound comprises (1) a semiconductor nanocrystal capable of emitting electromagnetic radiation and/or absorbing energy, and/or scattering or diffracting electromagnetic radiation--when excited by an electromagnetic radiation source or a particle beam; and (2) at least one linking agent, having a first portion linked to the semiconductor nanocrystal and a second portion capable of linking to an affinity molecule. The compound is linked to an affinity molecule to form a semiconductor nanocrystal probe capable of bonding with a detectable substance. Subsequent exposure to excitation energy will excite the semiconductor nanocrystal in the probe, causing the emission of electromagnetic radiation. Further described are processes for respectively: making the semiconductor nanocrystal compound; making the semiconductor nanocrystal probe; and using the probe to determine the presence of a detectable substance in a material.
The invention described herein arose in the course of, or under, Contract No. DE-AC03-SF00098 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The Government may have rights to the invention.