Bioconjugates, Fluorescence microscopy, Fluorescent probes, Superfluorescence, Two photon absorbing materials, Vascular endothelial growth factors


The development of new multiphoton absorbing materials has attracted the attention of researchers for the last two decades. The advantages that multiphoton absorbing materials offer, versus their one-photon absorbing counterparts, rely on the nature of the nonlinearity of the absorption process, where two photons are absorbed simultaneously offering increased 3D resolution, deeper penetration, and less photobleaching and photodamage as a result of a more confined excitation. The applications of efficient two-photon absorbing materials have been extensively expanding into the fields of photodynamic therapy, microscopy, and optical data storage. One of the fields where an increased interest in multiphoton absorbing materials has been most evident is in bioimaging, in particular, when different cellular processes and organelles need to be studied by fluorescence microscopy. The goal of this research was to develop efficient two-photon absorption (2PA) compounds to be used in fluorescence bioimaging, meaning that such compounds need to posses good optical properties, such as high fluorescence quantum yield, 2PA cross section, and photostability. In the first chapter of this dissertation, we describe the synthesis and structural characterization of a new series of fluorescent donor–acceptor and acceptor-acceptor molecules based on the fluorenyl ring system that incorporated functionalities such as alkynes and thiophene rings, through efficient Pd-catalyzed Sonogashira and Stille coupling reactions, in order to increase the length of the conjugation in our systems. These new molecules proved to have high two-photon absorption (2PA), and the effect of these functionalities on their 2PA cross section values was evaluated. Finally, their use in two-photon fluorescence microscopy (2PFM) imaging was demonstrated. iii One of the limitations of the compounds described in Chapter 1 was their poor water solubility; this issue was addressed in Chapter 2. The use of micelles in drug delivery has been shown to be an area of increasing interest over the last decade. In the bioimaging field, it is key to have dye molecules with a high degree of water solubility to enable cells to uptake the dye. By enclosing a hydrophobic dye in Pluronic® F-127 micelles, we developed a system that facilitates the use of 2PA molecules (typically hydrophobic) in biological systems for nonlinear biophotonic applications, specifically to image the lysosomes. Furthermore, we report in this chapter the efficient microwave-assisted synthesis of the dye used in this study. In addition, linear photophysical and photochemical parameters, two-photon absorption (2PA), and superfluorescence properties of the dye studied in Chapter 2, were investigated in Chapter 3. The steady-state absorption, fluorescence, and excitation anisotropy spectra of this dye were measured in several organic solvents and aqueous media. In Chapter 4, we describe the preparation and the use of an efficient and novel twophoton absorbing fluorescent probe conjugated to an antibody that confers selectivity towards the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR-2) in porcine aortic endothelial cells that express this receptor (PAE-KDR). It is known that this receptor is overexpressed in certain cancer processes. Thus, targeting of this receptor will be useful to image the tumor vasculature. It was observed that when the dye was incubated with cells that do not express the receptor, no effective binding between the bioconjugate and the cells took place, resulting in very poor, nonspecific fluorescence images by both one and two-photon excitation. On the other hand, when the dye was incubated with cells that expressed VEGFR-2, efficient imaging of the cells was obtained, even at very low concentrations (0.4 μM). Moreover, incubation of the bioconjugate iv with tissue facilitated successful imaging of vasculature in mouse embryonic tissue


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Graduation Date





Belfield, Kevin D.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences










Release Date

December 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic

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