Locally Excited State–Charge Transfer State Coupled Dyes as Optically Responsive Neuron Firing Probes

D. Sirbu, J.B. Butcher, P.G. Waddell, P. Andras, A.C. Benniston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A selection of NIR‐optically responsive neuron probes was produced comprising of a donor julolidyl group connected to a BODIPY core and several different styryl and vinylpyridinyl derived acceptor moieties. The strength of the donor–acceptor interaction was systematically modulated by altering the electron withdrawing nature of the aryl unit. The fluorescence quantum yield was observed to decrease as the electron withdrawing effect of the aryl subunit increased in line with changes of the Hammett parameter. The effectiveness of these fluorophores as optically responsive dyes for neuronal imaging was assessed by measuring the toxicity and signal‐to‐noise ratio (SNR) of each dye. A great improvement of SNR was obtained when compared to the first‐generation BODIPY‐based voltage sensitive dyes with concomitant toxicity decrease. The mechanism for the optical response is disparate from conventional cyanine‐based dyes, opening up a new way to produce effective voltage sensitive dyes that respond well into the NIR region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14639-14649
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number58
Early online date18 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: D. Sirbu, J. B. Butcher, P. G. Waddell, P. Andras, A. C. Benniston, Chem. Eur. J. 2017, 23, 14639., which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/chem.201703366.  This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.


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