Intraoperative fluorescence imaging in the second near-infrared (NIR-II) region heralds a new era in image-guided surgery since the success in the first-in-human liver-tumor surgery guided by NIR-II fluorescence. Limited by the conventional small organic NIR dyes such as FDA-approved indocyanine green with suboptimal NIR-II fluorescence and non-targeting ability, the resulting shallow penetration depth and high false positive diagnostic values have been challenging. Described here is the design of NIR-II emissive semiconducting polymer dots (Pdots) incorporated with thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF) moieties to exhibit emission maxima of 1064-1100 nm and fluorescence quantum yields of 0.40-1.58% in aqueous solutions. To further understand how the TADF units affect the molecular packing and the resulting optical properties of Pdots, in-depth and thorough density-functional theory calculations were carried out to better understand the underlying mechanisms. We then applied these Pdots for in vivo 3D bone imaging in mice. This work provides a direction for future designs of NIR-II Pdots and holds promising applications for bone-related diseases.
|Number of pages||8|
|State||Published - 18 Aug 2022|