TADF-based NIR-II semiconducting polymer dots for in vivo 3D bone imaging

Keng Fang Hsu, Shih Po Su, Hsiu Feng Lu, Ming Ho Liu, Yuan Jay Chang, Yi Jang Lee, Huihua Kenny Chiang, Chao Ping Hsu*, Chin Wei Lu, Yang Hsiang Chan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10074-10081
Number of pages8
JournalChemical Science
Issue number34
StatePublished - 18 Aug 2022


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