Development of biocompatible fluorophores with small size, bright fluorescence, and narrow spectrum translate directly into major advances in fluorescence imaging and related techniques. Here, we discover that a small donor–acceptor–donor-type organic molecule consisting of a carbazole (Cz) donor and benzothiazole (BT) acceptor (CzBTCz) assembles into quasi-crystalline J-aggregates upon a formation of ultrasmall nanoparticles. The 3.5 nm CzBTCz Jdots show a narrow absorption spectrum (fwhm = 27 nm), near-unity fluorescence quantum yield (ϕfl = 0.95), and enhanced peak molar extinction coefficient. The superior spectroscopic characteristics of the CzBTCz Jdots result in two orders of magnitude brighter photoluminescence of the Jdots compared with semiconductor quantum dots, which enables continuous single-Jdots imaging over a 1 h period. Comparison with structurally similar CzBT nanoparticles demonstrates a critical role played by the shape of CzBTCz on the formation of the Jdots. Our findings open an avenue for the development of a new class of fluorescent nanoparticles based on J-aggregate.
|Original language||English (US)|
|State||Published - Mar 30 2021|
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-04-02
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR-2016-2967-CRG5
Acknowledgements: This study was supported by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the KAUST Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) under award no. OSR-2016-2967-CRG5.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanical Engineering
- Condensed Matter Physics