Water-Dispersible Organic Nanodots as Bioimaging Probes

  • Author: ChemViews Magazine
  • Published Date: 21 December 2017
  • Source / Publisher: Chemistry – A European Journal/Wiley-VCH
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA
thumbnail image: Water-Dispersible Organic Nanodots as Bioimaging Probes

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Fluorescent materials can be used for the imaging of living cells. The development of heavy-metal-free, water-dispersible, and biocompatible imaging probes is important. Carbon nitride (C3N4) has suitable optical properties for a bioimaging probe, but its biocompatibility and dispersibility in aqueous media need to be enhanced.

Yong Jin Lee, Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences, Seoul, Sungjin Park and Dong Wook Kim, Inha University, Incheon, Republic of Korea, and colleagues have incorporated short chain polyethylene glycol (PEG) groups onto a carbon nitride network to solve these problems. The team used an N-alkylation of hexaethylene glycolic mesylate with nucleophilic nitrogen atoms on oxidized carbon nitride (OCN, reaction pictured).

The PEGylated OCN (PEG-OCN) is well dispersed in water as nanodots and shows strong photoluminescence in the visible region. The team used cell viability testing to confirm that these heavy-metal-free, organic nanodots are highly biocompatible and non-cytotoxic. In particular, the developed nanodots could provide clear confocal images of a type of mouse cell without weakening cell activity, while displaying bright green emission.


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Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies) published by Wiley-VCH