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) dye as the reporter and household butter as the matrix. This temperature nanosensor showed decreased fluorescence intensities (∼2%/°C) and shorter fluorescence lifetimes (∼0.11 ns/°C) upon increasing the environmental temperature in the physiological temperature range. Such fluorescence responses were reversible and independent of the environmental pH and ionic strength. The application of these nano-thermometers in temperature sensing in living cells using 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 and low-cost method for rapid fabrication of an effective nanosensor based on AIE mechanism.