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Issue 25, 2015
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Photostable phosphorescent polymer nanospheres for high sensitivity detection

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Abstract

Time-gated interrogation of phosphorescent labels allows high sensitivity detection of analytes by excluding background fluorescence and stray excitation light. Here we report a method for preparing phosphorescent polymer nanospheres with optical properties specifically designed to enable time-gated detection with both organic and inorganic light-emitting diodes and photodiodes. The nanospheres were formed by co-precipitating the phosphorescent dye ruthenium diphenyl phenanthroline with the amphiphilic statistical co-polymer poly(styrene-co-maleic acid). To minimize aggregation and ensure effective encapsulation against water and oxygen ingress, the polymer chains were cross-linked with the small-molecule cross-linker bisphenol A diglycidyl ether, resulting in near-monodisperse nanospheres with excellent resilience against aggregation and quenching. The nanospheres exhibited long phosphorescence lifetimes of 5.3 ± 0.1 μs, high photoluminescence quantum efficiencies of 33 ± 5%, and excellent stability under UV irradiation. Using a blue light-emitting diode as a light-source and a silicon photodiode as a detector, a low detection limit of 4 μg ml−1 was achieved. The suitability of the nanospheres for bioanalysis was demonstrated by surface functionalising them with biotin to yield a simple biolabel for streptavidin.

Graphical abstract: Photostable phosphorescent polymer nanospheres for high sensitivity detection

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Publication details

The article was received on 02 Apr 2015, accepted on 05 Jun 2015 and first published on 11 Jun 2015


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C5TC00933B
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. C, 2015,3, 6565-6572
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    Photostable phosphorescent polymer nanospheres for high sensitivity detection

    A. N. Edwards, M. Yamazaki, S. H. Krishnadasan, T. W. Phillips, L. Rowlands, R. Jourdain, A. M. Nightingale and J. C. de Mello, J. Mater. Chem. C, 2015, 3, 6565
    DOI: 10.1039/C5TC00933B

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