Highly fluorescent and bioresorbable polymeric nanoparticles with enhanced photostability for cell imaging†
We report a facile and general strategy for enhancing the photostability of organic fluorophores for bioimaging applications. As a proof of concept, bright and robust fluorescence was observed in solid states of a well-defined synthetic polymer polycaprolactone consisting of di(thiophene-2-yl)-diketopyrrolopyrrole covalently linked in the middle of the polymer chain as a biocompatible and bioresorbable matrix. The nanoparticles prepared through a nanoprecipitation process of these polymers could be internalized by both tumor cells and stem cells with little cytotoxicity. Moreover, these highly fluorescent nanoparticles exhibited significantly enhanced photostability compared to commercial quantum dots or physical blends of dye/polymer complexes in cell imaging and long-term tracing.