Near-IR Two-Photon Fluorescent Sensor for K+ Imaging in Live Cells

Binglin Sui, Xiling Yue, Bosung Kim, Kevin D. Belfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


A new two-photon excited fluorescent K+ sensor is reported. The sensor comprises three moieties, a highly selective K+ chelator as the K+ recognition unit, a boron-dipyrromethene (BODIPY) derivative modified with phenylethynyl groups as the fluorophore, and two polyethylene glycol chains to afford water solubility. The sensor displays very high selectivity (>52-fold) in detecting K+ over other physiological metal cations. Upon binding K+, the sensor switches from nonfluorescent to highly fluorescent, emitting red to near-IR (NIR) fluorescence. The sensor exhibited a good two-photon absorption cross section, 500 GM at 940 nm. Moreover, it is not sensitive to pH in the physiological pH range. Time-dependent cell imaging studies via both one- and two-photon fluorescence microscopy demonstrate that the sensor is suitable for dynamic K+ sensing in living cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17565-17568
Number of pages4
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number32
StatePublished - Aug 19 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science


  • cell imaging
  • fluorescent sensors
  • potassium sensors
  • two-photon absorption
  • two-photon fluorescence microscopy


Dive into the research topics of 'Near-IR Two-Photon Fluorescent Sensor for K+ Imaging in Live Cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this