Reversible photoswitching of spiropyran-conjugated semiconducting polymer dots

Yang-Hsiang Chan, Maria Elena Gallina, Xuanjun Zhang, I. Che Wu, Yuhui Jin, Wei Sun, Daniel T. Chiu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Semiconducting polymer dots (Pdots) recently have emerged as a new class of ultrabright fluorescent probes with promising applications in biological detection and imaging. We developed photoswitchable Pdots by conjugating photochromic spiropyran molecules onto poly[9,9-dioctylfluorenyl-2,7-diyl)-co-1, 4-benzo-{2,1′-3}-thiadiazole)] (PFBT). The modulation of fluorescence was achieved by ultraviolet irradiation, which converted spiropyran into its visible-absorbing merocyanine form. The merocyanine efficiently quenched the fluorescence of PFBT via Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET). We then reversed the quenching by subsequent irradiation with visible light to get back the fluorescence of PFBT. This FRET-based photomodulation of Pdot fluorescence could be repeated multiple times. We next conjugated biomolecules onto the surface of these photoswitchable Pdots and demonstrated their specific cellular and subcellular labeling to different types of cells without any noticeable nonspecific binding. We anticipate these photoswitchable and biocompatible Pdots will be useful in developing bioimaging techniques in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9431-9438
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number21
StatePublished - 6 Nov 2012


Dive into the research topics of 'Reversible photoswitching of spiropyran-conjugated semiconducting polymer dots'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this