Deep-penetration fluorescence imaging in the second near-infrared (NIR-II) window heralds a new era of clinical surgery, in which high-resolution vascular/lymphatic anatomy and detailed cancerous tissues can be visualized in real time. Described here is a series of polymethine-based semiconducting polymers with intrinsic emission maxima in the NIR-IIa (1300–1400 nm) window and absorption maxima ranging from 1082 to 1290 nm. These polymers were prepared as semiconducting polymer dots (Pdots) in aqueous solutions with fluorescence quantum yields of 0.05–0.18 %, and they demonstrate promising applications in noninvasive through-skull brain imaging in live mice with remarkable spatial resolution as well as signal-to-background contrast. This study offers a platform for future design of NIR-IIa or even NIR-IIb emitting Pdots.
- imaging agents
- synthetic methods