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Hao, Pam, Lukas and Ryan's paper is published in JACS!

Photoacoustic Probes for Ratiometric Imaging of Copper(II)

Photoacoustic tomography has emerged as a promising alternative to MRI and X-ray scans in the clinical setting due to its ability to afford high-resolution images at depths in the cm range. However, its utility has not been established in the basic research arena owing to a lack of analyte-specific photoacoustic probes. To this end, we have developed APC-1 (Acoustogenic Probe for Copper(II)-1) and APC-2, a water-soluble congener, for the chemoselective visualization of Cu(II), a metal ion which plays a crucial role in chronic neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. To detect Cu(II), we have equipped both APCs with a 2-picolinic ester sensing module that is readily hydrolyzed in the presence of Cu(II) but not by other divalent metal ions. Additionally, we designed APC-1 and APC-2 explicitly for ratiometric photoacoustic imaging by using an aza-BODIPY dye scaffold exhibiting two spectrally resolved NIR absorbance bands which correspond to the 2-picolinic ester capped and uncapped phenoxide forms. The normalized ratiometric turn-on responses for APC-1 and APC-2 were 89- and 101-fold, respectively.

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