The structural stability of water-soluble ZnO quantum dots (QDs) in oral epidermoid carcinoma (KB) cells was studied by the External Micro Proton Induced X-ray Emission (External Micro-PIXE) technique and the X-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS) measurement. The External Micro-PIXE and XAFS experiments were respectively performed at the JAEA and the Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility. The elements' distributions were detected by the External Micro-PIXE technique. The XAFS method was applied to obtain information about zinc (Zn) K-edge spectra. The fits of the XAFS data showed that the Zn-O bond structure of water-soluble ZnO QDs was stable after being absorbed by KB cells. Its local structural parameters were almost identical with those of the standard wurtzite structure. Water-soluble ZnO QDs had good structural stability in KB cells. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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