Theranostic Carbon Dots with Innovative NIR-II Emission for in Vivo Renal-Excreted Optical Imaging and Photothermal Therapy

Youbin Li, Gongxun Bai, Songjun Zeng, Jianhua Hao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


Carbon dots (CDs) with low biotoxicity, high photostability, and well-controlled size are highly desirable imaging agents for optical bioimaging. However, most of the CDs triggered by ultraviolet/blue light present visible/first near-infrared emissions shorter than 820 nm, impairing their imaging applications in vivo by low penetration depth. Hence, developing novel CD-based materials with second near-infrared (NIR-II) emission located in 1000-1700 nm region is an urgent task. Here, a novel NIR-II-emitting CD-based nanoprobe triggered by 808 nm laser is developed. The designed CDs with 900-1200 nm luminescence possess high quantum yield (QY-0.4%) and high biocompatibility, which have proven to be effective probes for in vivo NIR-II bioimaging. Notably, nearly 65% CDs are excreted from mouse urine within 6 h, demonstrating the rapid renal clearance of CDs. Furthermore, the designed CDs also exhibit high photothermal efficiency (30.6%), making them ideal materials for thermal ablation of cancer. Our findings pave the way of designing a multifunctional CD-based theranostic platform for simultaneously integrating the advanced NIR-II bioimaging and photothermal therapy of cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4737-4744
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2019


  • carbon dots
  • NIR-II bioimaging
  • NIR-triggered NIR-II emission
  • photothermal therapy of cancer
  • renal clearance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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