The development of new luminescent materials has facilitated the attainment of unprecedented knowledge, opening a new avenue to scientific achievement and societal development. This is readily exemplified by the Nobel Prize awarded to the discovery of green fluorescent proteins and the development of super-resolved fluorescent microscopy, which enable the visualization of previously unobservable biochemical structures and processes to gain extraordinary insight into biological pathways. Many luminophores have been prepared but all suffer from drawbacks. One of the most severe problems is that their bright emissions in solutions are often weakened or quenched when they are dispersed in aqueous media or aggregated in living cells. Such aggregation-caused quenching (ACQ) has left researchers with no choice but to study and utilize fluorophores as isolated molecules in very dilute solutions. However, the use of dilute solutions leads to weak emission and hence poor sensitivity in fluorescence sensory systems. The small number of dye molecules in dilute solutions can be quickly photobleached upon light excitation, resulting in poor photostability. Such attributes have limited their biological applications.
In this CRF project, a strong multi-institutional team will be assembled to work on the design and development of new luminophores with AIE characteristics. The working principles of these new systems will be deciphered to assist the future design of new materials with advanced functionalities. These molecules have been found to show higher biocompatibility, lower toxicity, higher photostability and stronger emission than their traditional counterparts, making them highly promising candidates for application in biological fields. New synergy will be developed and new avenues will be explored through this collaborative project.
Research efforts and strengths in the area will be coordinated and cross-fertilized. The newly invented materials, processes and techniques will be transferred to local industrial sectors to help sharpen their competitive edge, and postgraduate students and postdoctoral fellows will also be trained.
Construction of a dual-modality readout immunoassay platform for ultrasensitive detection of viruses based on a multifunctional aggregation-induced emission luminogen
Related research publications:
- Li, Q.; Li, Y.; Min, T.; Gong, J.; Du, L.; Phillips, D. L.; Liu, J.; Lam, J. W. Y.; Sung, H. H. Y.; Williams, I. D.; Kwok, R T. K.; Ho, C.; Li, K.; Wang, J*.; Tang, B. Z.* “Time-Dependent Photodynamic Therapy for Multiple Targets: A Highly Efficient AIE-Active Photosensitizer for Selective Bacterial Elimination and Cancer Cell Ablation” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, 59, 9470–9477 (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/anie.201909706)
- Niu, G.; Zheng, X.; Zhao, Z.; Zhang, H.; Wang, J.; He, X.; Chen, Y.; Shi, X.; Ma, C.; Kwok, R. T. K.; Lam, J. W. Y.; Sung, H. H. Y.;Williams, I. D.; Wong, K. S.; Wang, P. F.; Tang, B. Z.* “Functionalized Acrylonitriles with Aggregation-Induced Emission: Structure Tuning by Simple Reaction-Condition Variation, Efficient Red Emission, and Two-Photon Bioimaging” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 15111-15120 (https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jacs.9b06196)
- Zheng, Z.; Li, D.; Liu, Z.; Peng, H.-Q.; Sung, H. H. Y.; Kwok, R. T. K.; Williams, I. D.; Lam, J. W. Y.; Qian, J*.; Tang, B. Z.* “Aggregation-Induced Nonlinear Optical Effects of AIEgen Nanocrystals for Ultradeep In Vivo Bioimaging” Adv. Mater. 2019, 31, 1904799 (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201904799)
- Stephen Kam Chuen Cheong Professor of Science
- Chair Professor, Department of Chemistry
- Chair Professor, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
- Senior Fellow, HKUST Jockey Club Institute for Advanced Study
- Director of Hong Kong Branch of Chinese National Engineering Research Center for Tissue Restoration and Reconstruction
- Director of South China University of Technology (SCUT)-HKUST Joint Research Institute
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