Fe-Doped Carbon Dots as NIR-II Fluorescence Probe for In Vivo Gastric Imaging and pH Detection.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Adv Sci (Weinh), 2023, pp. e2206271
Issue Date:
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Carbon dots (CDs) with excellent cytocompatibility, tunable optical properties, and simple synthesis routes are highly desirable for use in optical bioimaging. However, the majority of existing CDs are triggered by ultraviolet/blue light, presenting emissions in the visible/first near-infrared (NIR-I) regions, which do not allow deep tissue penetration. Emerging research into CDs with NIR-II emission in the red region has generated limited designs with poor quantum yield, restricting their in vivo imaging applications due to low penetration depth. Developing novel CDs with NIR-II emissions and high quantum yield has significant and far-reaching applications in bioimaging and photodynamic therapy. Here, it is developed for the first time Fe-doped CDs (Fe-CDs) exhibiting the excellent linear relationship between 900-1200 nm fluorescence-emission and pH values, and high quantum yield (QY-1.27%), which can be used as effective probes for in vivo NIR-II bioimaging. These findings demonstrate reliable imaging accuracy in tissue as deep as 4 mm, reflecting real-time pH changes comparable to a standard pH electrode. As an important example application, the Fe-CDs probe can non-invasively monitor in vivo gastric pH changes during the digestion process in mice, illustrating its potential applications in aiding imaging-guided diagnosis of gastric diseases or therapeutic delivery.
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