Bright fluorophores in the near-infrared and shortwave infrared (SWIR) regions of the electromagnetic spectrum are essential for optical imaging in vivo. In this work, we utilized a 7-dimethylamino flavylium heterocycle to construct a panel of novel red-shifted polymethine dyes, with emission wavelengths from 680 to 1045 nm. Photophysical characterization revealed that the 1- and 3-methine dyes display enhanced photostability and the 5- and 7-methine dyes exhibit exceptional brightness for their respective spectral regions. A micelle formulation of the 7-methine facilitated SWIR imaging in mice. This report presents the first polymethine dye designed and synthesized for SWIR in vivo imaging.
Keywords: fluorescent dyes; imaging agents; near-infrared; polymethines; shortwave infrared.
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