Polymer-encapsulated organic nanoparticles for fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging
Polymer encapsulated organic nanoparticles have recently attracted increasing attention in the biomedical field because of their unique optical properties, easy fabrication and outstanding performance as imaging and therapeutic agents. Of particular importance is the polymer encapsulated nanoparticles containing conjugated polymers (CP) or fluorogens with aggregation induced emission (AIE) characteristics as the core, which have shown significant advantages in terms of tunable brightness, superb photo- and physical stability, good biocompatibility, potential biodegradability and facile surface functionalization. In this review, we summarize the latest advances in the development of polymer encapsulated CP and AIE fluorogen nanoparticles, including preparation methods, material design and matrix selection, nanoparticle fabrication and surface functionalization for fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging. We also discuss their specific applications in cell labeling, targeted in vitro and in vivo imaging, blood vessel imaging, cell tracing, inflammation monitoring and molecular imaging. We specially focus on strategies to fine-tune the nanoparticle property (e.g. size and fluorescence quantum yield) through precise engineering of the organic cores and careful selection of polymer matrices. The review also highlights the merits and limitations of these nanoparticles as well as strategies used to overcome the limitations. The challenges and perspectives for the future development of polymer encapsulated organic nanoparticles are also discussed.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Chem Soc Rev Emerging Investigators