Scalable synthesis of multicolour conjugated polymer nanoparticles via Suzuki-Miyaura polymerisation in a miniemulsion and application in bioimaging

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Jonathan M. Behrendt
  • Jair A. Esquivel Guzman
  • Laura Purdie
  • Helen Willcock
  • John J. Morrison
  • Andrew B. Foster
  • Mark C. McCairn
  • Michael L. Turner

Colleges, School and Institutes


Suzuki cross-coupling polymerisation of aryldibromides and aryldiboronate esters in a sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)-stabilised miniemulsion provides a versatile and direct route to fluorescent conjugated polymer nanoparticles (CPNs). These nanoparticles have a conjugated backbone based on poly(9,9-dioctylfluorene) (PFO), however, significant structural diversity is introduced by incorporation of electron withdrawing, heterocyclic comonomers (5–50 mol.%) in order to tune the emission wavelengths from blue to far-red/near-infrared. The robust nature of the polymerisation methodology allows for rapid assessment of the relationship between polymer composition, chain morphology and optical properties of the resultant CPNs. Moreover, the CPNs (after a simple and rapid purification step) can be used directly in fluorescence-based intracellular labelling experiments (in HCT116 cells), in which they display low cytotoxicity at biologically-useful concentrations.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-77
JournalReactive and Functional Polymers
Early online date30 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • conjugated polymer nanoparticles, miniemulsion, Suzuki-Miyaura polymerisation, scaleable, bioimaging