Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry - (Ph.D.)


Chemistry and Environmental Science

First Advisor

Kevin D. Belfield

Second Advisor

Edgardo Tabion Farinas

Third Advisor

Yong Ick Kim

Fourth Advisor

Yuanwei Zhang

Fifth Advisor

Xuan Liu


The development of new organic molecular probes with excellent photophysical properties and high fluorescence quantum yields is of considerable interest to many research areas including one- and two-photon fluorescence microscopy, fluorescence-based sensing methodologies, and cancer therapy. Series of organic linear-/non-linear optical molecules including squaraine derivatives, and fluorene derivatives as well as other bioconjugates are designed and synthesized during the doctoral study for the aim of ion detection (Chapter 5), photo dynamic therapy, and deep-tissue imaging (Chapter 4). These optical probes are capable of absorbing light in the near infrared (NIR) window and thus have deeper penetration and cause less photodamage to the biological sample (Chapter 2). To realize the specific targeting, molecules are functionalized by peptide conjugation such as the recruitment of RGD-peptide.

There have been numerous fluorescent probes reported over the past few decades and many suffer from the ability to introduce them into biological systems, undergo fluorescent quenching in aqueous media, or are not biocompatible. Delivery of hydrophobic materials in biological materials into the biological systems, for example, contrast agents or drugs, is an obdurate challenge, severely restricting the use of materials with otherwise advantageous properties. Incorporating promising organic molecules in nanovessicles, nanoparticles, and polymeric carriers to achieve new types of biocompatible probes and bioimaging is another vital aim for this doctoral research. Combining with powerful imaging methods, such as in vivo two-photon fluorescence microscopy (2PFM), vasculature imaging during angiogenesis (Chapter 4), cellular organelles labelling and tracking (Chapter 3, 6) is accomplished using nanostructured fluorescent probes or complex. These represent powerful new tools that should have broad impact as high fidelity fluorescent contrast agents.



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