We describe here the synthesis, characterization, bioconjugation, and application of water-soluble thioglycolic acid TGA-capped CdTe/CdS quantum dots (TGA-QDs) for targeted cellular imaging. Antihuman epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) antibodies were conjugated to TGA-QDs to target HER2-overexpressing cancer cells. TGA-QDs and TGA-QDs/anti-HER2 bioconjugates were characterized by fluorescence and UV-Vis spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), hydrodynamic sizing, electron microscopy, and gel electrophoresis. TGA-QDs and TGA-QDs/anti-HER2 were incubated with cells to examine cytotoxicity, targeting efficiency, and cellular localization. The cytotoxicity of particles was measured using an MIT assay and the no observable adverse effect concentration (NOAEC), 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50), and total lethal concentration (TLC) were calculated. To evaluate localization and targeting efficiency of TGA-QDs with or without antibodies, fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry were performed. Our results indicate that antibody-conjugated TGA-QDs are well-suited for targeted cellular imaging studies. (C) 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.