L-cysteine capped Mn doped ZnS quantum dots/Idarubicin (IDA) nanohybrids were used as novel room temperature phosphorescence (RTP) sensor to detect double stranded deoxyribonucleic acid (ds-DNA)/drug interaction. IDA, anthracycline derivative anticancer drug, was adsorbed on the surface of the QDs as an electron acceptor to quench the RTP emission. The RTP intensity of QDs was quenched quickly upon addition of quencher and the reaction reached equilibrium within 2 min. The quenching mechanism of phosphorescence of Mn-doped ZnS QDs by IDA is a combined dynamic and static quenching. The static and dynamic quenching constants were found as 1.1 x 10(5) M-1 and 8.7 x 10(4) M-1, respectively. The addition of ds-DNA caused formation of ds-DNA/IDA complex and recovered the RTP signal of Mn-doped ZnS QDs, which allowed qualitative analysis. Under optimal conditions, RTP intensity of QDs/IDA nanohybrids increased linearly with the concentration of ds-DNA from -1.2 to 6.0 mu M. This method is simple, low cost and avoids from interferences. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.