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Issue 31, 2020

Tuning molecular aggregation to achieve highly bright AIE dots for NIR-II fluorescence imaging and NIR-I photoacoustic imaging

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Abstract

Currently, bright aggregation-induced emission luminogens (AIEgens) with high photoluminescence quantum yields (PLQYs) in the NIR-II region are still limited, and thus an efficient strategy to enhance NIR-II fluorescence performance through tuning molecular aggregation is proposed here. The synthesized donor–acceptor tailored AIEgen (DTPA-TBZ) not only exhibits an excellent absorptivity in the NIR-I region, but also good fluorescence signals in the NIR-II region with an emission extending to 1200 nm. Benefiting from such improved intramolecular restriction and aggregation, a significant absolute PLQY value of 8.98% was obtained in solid DTPA-TBZ. Encouragingly, the resulting AIE dots also exhibit a high relative PLQY of up to 11.1% with IR 26 as the reference (PLQY = 0.5%). Finally, the AIE dots were applied in high performance NIR-II fluorescence imaging and NIR-I photoacoustic (PA) imaging: visualization of abdominal vessels, hind limb vasculature, and cerebral vessels with high signal to background ratios was performed via NIR-II imaging; Moreover, PA imaging has also been performed to clearly observe tumors in vivo. These results demonstrate that by finely tuning molecular aggregation in DTPA-TBZ, a good NIR-I absorptivity and a highly emissive fluorescence in the NIR-II region can be achieved simultaneously, finally resulting in a promising dual-modal imaging platform for real-world applications to achieve precise cancer diagnostics.

Graphical abstract: Tuning molecular aggregation to achieve highly bright AIE dots for NIR-II fluorescence imaging and NIR-I photoacoustic imaging

Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
06 Jun 2020
Accepted
16 Jul 2020
First published
17 Jul 2020

This article is Open Access
All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry

Chem. Sci., 2020,11, 8157-8166
Article type
Edge Article

Tuning molecular aggregation to achieve highly bright AIE dots for NIR-II fluorescence imaging and NIR-I photoacoustic imaging

Y. Xu, C. Li, R. Xu, N. Zhang, Z. Wang, X. Jing, Z. Yang, D. Dang, P. Zhang and L. Meng, Chem. Sci., 2020, 11, 8157 DOI: 10.1039/D0SC03160G

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