Dye-sensitized core/active shell upconversion nanoparticles for optogenetics and bioimaging applications

Xiang Wu, Yuanwei Zhang, Kendra Takle, Osman Bilsel, Zhanjun Li, Hyungseok Lee, Zijiao Zhang, Dongsheng Li, Wei Fan, Chunying Duan, Emory M. Chan, Carlos Lois, Yang Xiang, Gang Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

393 Scopus citations


Near-infrared (NIR) dye-sensitized upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) can broaden the absorption range and boost upconversion efficiency of UCNPs. Here, we achieved significantly enhanced upconversion luminescence in dye-sensitized core/active shell UCNPs via the doping of ytterbium ions (Yb3+) in the UCNP shell, which bridged the energy transfer from the dye to the UCNP core. As a result, we synergized the two most practical upconversion booster effectors (dye-sensitizing and core/shell enhancement) to amplify upconversion efficiency. We demonstrated two biomedical applications using these UCNPs. By using dye-sensitized core/active shell UCNP embedded poly(methyl methacrylate) polymer implantable systems, we successfully shifted the optogenetic neuron excitation window to a biocompatible and deep tissue penetrable 800 nm wavelength. Furthermore, UCNPs were water-solubilized with Pluronic F127 with high upconversion efficiency and can be imaged in a mouse model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1060-1066
Number of pages7
JournalACS Nano
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 26 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


  • Bioimaging
  • Core/active shell structure
  • Dye-sensitizing
  • Near-infrared
  • Optogenetics
  • Upconversion nanoparticles


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