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Simple Method to Supply Organic Nanoparticles with Excitation-Wavelength-Dependent Photoluminescence

Chen, Yun, Zhang, Qian, Willis, Maureen, Yao, Yongchao, Huang, Jingsheng, Wang, Bingji, Yu, Yunlong, Zhang, Shiyong
Langmuir 2020 v.36 no.12 pp. 3193-3200
heterocyclic compounds, image analysis, industry, micelles, microparticles, nanoparticles, neoplasm cells, photoluminescence, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polymers, ultraviolet radiation
Organic fluorescent nanoparticles (FNPs) have become increasingly prevalent in a variety of applications but the creation of organic FNPs using a simple procedure and that possess diverse morphology, multicolor luminescence, and high brightness has been challenging. Herein, a facile strategy to prepare this class of organic FNPs is established by way of preformed organic nanoparticles themselves. It was found that as long as the nanoparticles contained aromatic/heterocyclic rings in their base unit and regardless of morphologies (e.g., small-molecule micelles, polymeric micelles, reverse micelles, solid microspheres, and vesicles), simple UV irradiation can result in the particles exhibiting excitation-wavelength-dependent photoluminescence with considerable quantum yields (∼8.3–16.7% for tested particles). Upon initial investigation of the mechanism, the photoluminescence behavior was attributed to a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) process. Furthermore, the application of the synthesized organic FNPs in cancer cell imaging is demonstrated as just one of the many potential applications. The straightforward method to supply preformed organic nanoparticles with photoluminescence would be attractive for scientists in both academia and industry.