Photon Upconversion in Aqueous Nanodroplets


Sanders SN, Gangishetty MK, Sfeir MY, Congreve DN. Photon Upconversion in Aqueous Nanodroplets [Internet]. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2019;141(23):9180-9184.


Triplet fusion upconversion, the conversion of two low-energy photons into one higher-energy photon via excitonic intermediates, has the potential to revolutionize fields as diverse as biological imaging, photovoltaics, and optogenetics. However, important hurdles to widespread application still exist; for example, the vast majority of demonstrations are in nonpolar solvents, limiting applications. Furthermore, the necessary high concentrations of dyes limit optical penetration depth. Efforts toward aqueous solutions utilizing micelles and other nanoencapsulants have been limited by poor efficiencies or scatter from the nanoparticles. Here, we demonstrate a facile micellular fabrication method that drives a high boiling point solvent into the core of a block copolymer micelle, greatly reducing molecular aggregation. We show that this simple preparation is scalable and provides benefits across five different colors of photon upconversion. We expect this simple, user-friendly, and high-performance system to aid a multitude of photon upconversion applications, in particular, for optogenetics, photodynamic therapy, and photochemistry.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 06/25/2019