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Issue 10, 2017
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Highly photostable wide-dynamic-range pH sensitive semiconducting polymer dots enabled by dendronizing the near-IR emitters

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Abstract

One constraint of semiconducting polymer dots (Pdots), especially those with near-IR emission, is their low effective emitter ratio (∼1.5 mole percent), which limits their pH sensing performance. The other critical issue of existing Pdot-based pH sensors is their poor photostability. To address these issues, we developed a series of Pdots by dendronizing the squaraine-based pH responsive near-IR emitter, which is covalently incorporated into the polyfluorene (PFO) backbone. The fluorescence self-quenching of the NIR squaraine emitter was effectively suppressed at a high emitter concentration of 5 mole percent. Through controlling the individually incomplete energy transfer from the amorphous PFO donor to the blue β-phase PFO and NIR squaraine emitter, we obtained a ratiometric pH sensor with simultaneously improved pH sensitivity, brightness, and photostability. The Pdots showed a fast and reversible pH response over the whole biological pH range of 4.7 to 8.5. Intracellular pH mapping was successfully demonstrated using this ultra-bright and photostable Pdot-based pH indicator.

Graphical abstract: Highly photostable wide-dynamic-range pH sensitive semiconducting polymer dots enabled by dendronizing the near-IR emitters

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Publication details

The article was received on 07 Aug 2017, accepted on 02 Sep 2017 and first published on 04 Sep 2017


Article type: Edge Article
DOI: 10.1039/C7SC03448B
Citation: Chem. Sci., 2017,8, 7236-7245
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    Highly photostable wide-dynamic-range pH sensitive semiconducting polymer dots enabled by dendronizing the near-IR emitters

    L. Chen, L. Wu, J. Yu, C.-T. Kuo, T. Jian, I.-C. Wu, Y. Rong and D. T. Chiu, Chem. Sci., 2017, 8, 7236
    DOI: 10.1039/C7SC03448B

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