Highly fluorescent conjugated polymer dots were developed for demanding applications such as fluorescence imaging in live cells. These nanoparticles exhibit small particle diameters, extraordinary fluorescence brightness, and excellent photostability. Single particle fluorescence imaging and kinetic studies indicate much higher emission rates (∼108 s−1) and little or no blinking of the nanoparticles as compared to typical results for single dye molecules and quantum dots. Analysis of single particle photobleaching trajectories reveals excellent photostability—as many as 109 or more photons emitted per nanoparticle prior to irreversible photobleaching. The superior figures of merit of these new fluorescent probes, together with the demonstration of cellular imaging, indicate their enormous potential for demanding fluorescence-based imaging and sensing applications such as high speed super-resolution single molecule/particle tracking and highly sensitive assays.
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