Conjugated polymer nanoparticles for photoacoustic vascular imaging

Jie Liu, Junlong Geng, Lun De Liao, Nitish Thakor, Xiaohu Gao, Bin Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Photoacoustic (PA) imaging is an emerging technique in biological imaging, which is able to provide high resolution and deep penetration depth. Exogenous contrast agents with strong near infrared (NIR) absorbance are highly desirable for PA imaging. In this work, we synthesized a conjugated polymer, poly[9,9-bis(4-(2-ethylhexyl)phenyl)fluorene-alt-co-6,7-bis(4-(hexyloxy)phenyl) -4,9-di(thiophen-2-yl)-thiadiazoloquinoxaline] (PFTTQ) by Suzuki polymerization, which shows strong absorption in the NIR range. The processability of PFTTQ allowed for its encapsulation into a 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3- phosphoethanolamine-N-[methoxy(polyethylene glycol)-2000] (DSPE-PEG 2000) matrix to yield PFTTQ loaded DSPE-PEG2000 NPs (PFTTQ NPs) that are dispersible in water. As a result of their strong NIR absorbance and high non-radiative quantum yield (1 - fluorescence quantum yield), PFTTQ NPs show a strong ability to generate a PA signal. In addition, PFTTQ NPs show much higher photostability in comparison with Au NRs upon high energy pulse laser illumination at a fixed laser fluence of 15 mJ cm-2. The potential of PFTTQ NPs as a PA probe was further demonstrated using brain vascular imaging as an example.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2854-2862
Number of pages9
JournalPolymer Chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 21 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry


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