Cellular uptake kinetics of nanoparticles is one of the key issues determining the design and application of the particles. Models describing nanoparticles intrusion into the cell mostly take the endocytosis process into consideration, and the influences of electrical charges, sizes, concentrations of the particles have been investigated. In this paper, the temperature effect on the cellular uptake of Quantum Dots (QDs) is studied experimentally. QDs are incubated with the SPCA-1 human lung tumor cells, and the nanoparticles on the cell membrane and inside the cell are quantified according to the fluorescence intensities recorded. It is found that the amounts of nanoparticles attached onto the cell membrane and inside the cell both increase with temperature. Based on the experimental results, a model is proposed to describe the cellular uptake dynamic process of nanoparticles. The process consists of two steps: nanoparticles adsorption onto the cell membrane and the internalization. The dynamic parameters are obtained through curve fitting. The simulated results show that the internalization process can be categorized into different phases. The temperature dependent internalization rate constant is very small when below 14 °C. It increases distinctly when temperature rises from 14 °C to 22 °C, but there is no evident increase as temperature further increases above 22 °C. Results show that by incorporating a temperature-independent internalization factor, the model predictions well fit the experimental results.

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