A simple yet effective AIE-based fluorescent nano-thermometer for temperature mapping in living cells using fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy
We designed and synthesized a novel nano-thermometer using Aggregation-Induced-Emission (AIE) molecules as the reporter and household butter as the matrix. This temperature nanosensor showed decreased fluorescence intensities (~2%/°C) and shorter fluorescence lifetime (~0.11 ns/°C) upon increasing the environmental temperature in the range of physiological temperature. Such fluorescence responses were reversible and independent of the environmental pH and ionic strength. The application of these nano-thermometer in temperature sensing in living cells using a fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) was also demonstrated. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first example of AIE-based nano-thermometer for temperature sensing in living cells. This work also provides us with a simple, low-cost, and rapid fabrication method for an effective nanosensor design based on the AIE mechanism.
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