Luminescent Compounds for More Effective Bioimaging

Luminescent Compounds for More Effective Bioimaging

Novel luminescent compounds for use in bioimaging applications that exhibit the ideal characteristics for use in such applications to avoid problems, such as negative side effects in both humans and animals caused by current bioimaging tools.


Bioimaging has become the centerpiece of cell biology and diagnostic medicine. The ability to look at the interior structures of cells has dramatically increased understanding of their processes, including disease. This has been made possible through the development and application of fluorescent or luminescent molecules, which are introduced into cells and used to map structures and track biochemical processes. Effective, accurate and, importantly, safe bioimaging will lead to better diagnoses of disease, treatment, and quality of life.

University of Missouri-St. Louis researchers have developed novel luminescent compounds that exhibit properties ideal for bioimaging applications: (a) chemical stability in a cell; (b) high quantum efficiency; (c) favorable excitation and emission maxima and Stokes shift; (d) low toxicity; (e) facile synthetic preparation that could also involve efficiency and low environmental impact; (f) sensitivity to differences in cellular structures and conditions such as pH, oxygen levels, viscosity, etc. The new compounds have exceptional quantum efficiencies and chemical stability, exhibit no toxicity to cells, have great potential for favorable tuning of spectral properties and synthetic efficiency, and have shown excellent solid-state properties and strong luminescense in both solution and solid state. Solubility for has been established; the absorption spectra are within ranges compatible with bioimaging machines; and the ability to interact with cellular membranes and surfaces has been shown.


  • Bioimaging — single-cell and multi-cellular organisms


  • Non-toxic
  • Exceptional quantum efficiencies and chemical stability


PCT application filed April 09, 2020


Additional testing for bioimaging in multi-cellular organisms is needed. This technology has an immediate application in single-cell imaging. The university seeks a commercial partner to further develop this technology to bring it to market.

Additional Details

Owner: University of Missouri-St. Louis

IP Protection Status: Pending Patent