Biological Imaging without Autofluorescence in the Second Near-Infrared Region

Jeffrey Blackburn, Shuo Diao, Guosong Hong, Alexander Antaris, Kai Cheng, Zhen Cheng, Hongjie Dai

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260 Scopus Citations


Fluorescence imaging is capable of acquiring anatomical and functional information with high spatial and temporal resolution. This imaging technique has been indispensable in biological research and disease detection/diagnosis. Imaging in the visible and to a lesser degree, in the near-infrared (NIR) regions below 900 nm, suffers from autofluorescence arising from endogenous fluorescent molecules in biological tissues. This autofluorescence interferes with fluorescent molecules of interest, causing a high background and low detection sensitivity. Here, we report that fluorescence imaging in the 1,500–1,700-nm region (termed “NIR-IIb”) under 808-nm excitation results in nearly zero tissue autofluorescence, allowing for background-free imaging of fluorescent species in otherwise notoriously autofluorescent biological tissues, including liver. Imaging of the intrinsic fluorescence of individual fluorophores, such as a single carbon nanotube, can be readily achieved with high sensitivity and without autofluorescence background in mouse liver within the 1,500–1,700-nm wavelength region.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3027-3034
Number of pages8
JournalNano Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-64092


  • biological imaging
  • carbon nanotubes
  • luminescence
  • separations
  • solar-photochemistry


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