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Conjugated Polymer Nanoparticles for Bioimaging
Open AccessArticle

Fluorescent PCDTBT Nanoparticles with Tunable Size for Versatile Bioimaging

1
Nanobiophysics and Soft Matter Interfaces group (NSI), Institute for Materials Research (IMO-IMOMEC), UHasselt—Hasselt University, 3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium
2
Biomedical Research Institute (BIOMED), UHasselt—Hasselt University, 3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium
3
Design & Synthesis of Organic Semiconductors (DSOS), Institute for Materials Research (IMO-IMOMEC), UHasselt—Hasselt University, 3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium
4
IMEC, Associated lab IMOMEC, 3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2019, 12(15), 2497; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12152497
Received: 18 July 2019 / Revised: 30 July 2019 / Accepted: 6 August 2019 / Published: 6 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Conjugated Polymers for Bioimaging and Biosensing)
Conjugated polymer nanoparticles exhibit very interesting properties for use as bio-imaging agents. In this paper, we report the synthesis of PCDTBT (poly([9-(1’-octylnonyl)-9H-carbazole-2,7-diyl]-2,5-thiophenediyl-2,1,3-benzothiadiazole-4,7-diyl-2,5-thiophene-diyl)) nanoparticles of varying sizes using the mini-emulsion and emulsion/solvent evaporation approach. The effect of the size of the particles on the optical properties is investigated using UV-Vis absorption and fluorescence emission spectroscopy. It is shown that PCDTBT nanoparticles have a fluorescence emission maximum around 710 nm, within the biological near-infrared “optical window”. The photoluminescence quantum yield shows a characteristic trend as a function of size. The particles are not cytotoxic and are taken up successfully by human lung cancer carcinoma A549 cells. Irrespective of the size, all particles show excellent fluorescent brightness for bioimaging. The fidelity of the particles as fluorescent probes to study particle dynamics in situ is shown as a proof of concept by performing raster image correlation spectroscopy. Combined, these results show that PCDTBT is an excellent candidate to serve as a fluorescent probe for near-infrared bio-imaging. View Full-Text
Keywords: conjugated polymer nanoparticles; mini-emulsion; bio-imaging; raster image correlation spectroscopy conjugated polymer nanoparticles; mini-emulsion; bio-imaging; raster image correlation spectroscopy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cheruku, S.; D’Olieslaeger, L.; Smisdom, N.; Smits, J.; Vanderzande, D.; Maes, W.; Ameloot, M.; Ethirajan, A. Fluorescent PCDTBT Nanoparticles with Tunable Size for Versatile Bioimaging. Materials 2019, 12, 2497.

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