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Red-Emitting DPSB-Based Conjugated Polymer Nanoparticles with High Two-Photon Brightness for Cell Membrane Imaging

Liu, Peng, Li, Shuang, Jin, Yaocheng, Qian, Linghui, Gao, Nengyue, Yao, Shao Q., Huang, Fei, Xu, Qing-Hua, Cao, Yong
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2015 v.7 no.12 pp. 6754-6763
absorption, biocompatibility, cell membranes, fluorescence, image analysis, nanoparticles, photostability, polymers
New red-emitting conjugated polymers have been successfully synthesized by incorporating classical two-photon absorption (TPA) units, electron-rich units, and a small amount of electron-deficient units along the polymer backbones. Water-dispersible nanoparticles (NPs) based on these polymers were also fabricated for applications in two-photon excitation fluorescence imaging of cell membrane. Through optimization of the polymer/matrix mass ratio and the initial feed concentration of the polymer solution, a high quantum yield (QY) of 24% was achieved for the red-emitting NPs in water. TPA cross section and two-photon action cross section values of these polymers at 750 nm reached up to 1000 GM and 190 GM per repeat unit in aqueous media, 2.5 × 10⁵ GM and 4.7 × 10⁴ GM per NP, respectively. Furthermore, these NPs displayed excellent photostability and biocompatibility. Their applications as two-photon excitation fluorescence probes for cell membrane imaging have been demonstrated in three different cell lines with excellent imaging contrast. These results demonstrated that these polymer NPs hold great potentials as excellent two-photon excitation fluorescence probes in various biological applications.