We assessed the ability of luminescent quantum dots (QDs) to function as energy acceptors in fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) assays, with organic dyes serving as donors. Either AlexaFluor 488 or Cy3 dye was attached to maltose binding protein (MBP) and used with various QD acceptors. Steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence measurements showed no apparent FRET from dye to QD. We attribute these observations to the dominance of a fast radiative decay rate of the donor excitation relative to a slow FRET decay rate. This is due to the long exciton lifetime of the acceptor compared to that of the dye, combined with substantial QD direct excitation.
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