Two photon absorption, fluorescence imaging, photodynamic therapy


Two-photon absorbing (2PA) materials has been widely studied for their highly localized excitation and nonlinear excitation efficiency. Application of 2PA materials includes fluorescence imaging, microfabrication, 3D data storage, photodynamic therapy, etc. Many materials have good 2PA photophysical properties, among which, the fluorenyl structure and its derivatives have attracted attention with their high 2PA cross-section and high fluorescence quantum yield. Herein, several compounds with 2PA properties are discussed. All of these compounds contain one or two fluorenyl core units as part of the conjugated system. The aim of this dissertation is to discuss the application of these compounds according to their photophysical properties. In chapters 2 to 4, compounds were investigated for cell imaging and tissue imaging. In chapter 5, compounds were evaluated for photodynamic therapy effects on cancer cells. Chapters 2 and 3 detail compounds with quinolizinium and pyran as core structures, respectively. Fluorene was introduced into structures as substituents. Quinolizinium structures exhibited a large increase in fluorescence when binding with Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA). Further experiments in cell imaging demonstrated a fluorescence turn-on effect in cell membranes, indicating the possibility for these novel compounds to be promising membrane probes. Pyran structures were conjugated with arginylglycylaspartic acid peptide (RGD) to recognize integrin and introduced in cells and an animal model with tumors. Both probes showed specific targeting of tumor vasculature. Imaging reached penetration as deep as 350 µm in solid tumors and exhibited good resolution. These results suggest the RGD-conjugated pyran structure should be a good candidate probe for live tissue imaging. Chapter 4 applied a fluorene core structure conjugated with RGD as well. Application of this fluorenyl probe compound is in wound healing animal models. Fluorescence was collected from vasculature and fibroblasts up to ≈ 1600 µm within wound tissue in lesions made on the skin of mice. The resolution of images is also high enough to recognize cell types by immunohistochemical staining. This technology can be applied for reliable quantification and illustration of key biological processes taking place during tissue regeneration in the skin. Chapter 5 describes three fluorenyl core structures with photoacid generation properties. One of the structures showed excellent photo-induced toxicity. Cancer cells underwent necrotic cell death due to pH decrease in lysosomes and endosomes, suggesting a new mechanism for photodynamic therapy.


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Graduation Date





Belfield, Kevin


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program









Release Date

December 2015

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


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

Included in

Chemistry Commons