New Cover in ChemComm on boron-based luminescent nanoparticles

A work on fluorescent compounds based on boron clusters is highlighted on the inside cover of ChemComm, by Rosario Núñez and co-workers. 

13 April 2022
ChemComm Inside Cover: o-Carborane-based fluorophores as efficient luminescent systems both as solid and as water-dispersable nanoparticles

"The cover specifically shows a sphere containing the structure of one of our o-carborane-based fluorene derivatives, that represents the shape of nanoparticles prepared from this compound. These are water-dispersible nanoparticles hence the background selected is of water. Upon UV-vis irradiation the nanoparticles emit an aqua blue or cyan color (the emission spectrum is included), which is also the color of nanoparticles observed under FL microscope (small spheres)." explains Rosario Núñez, ICMAB researcher at the Inorganic Materials and Catalysis group, and corresponding author of the article.

This inside cover highlights the article published in the journal Chemical Communications (ChemComm) titled "o-Carborane-based fluorophores as efficient luminescent systems both as solids and as water-dispersible nanoparticles", which is dedicated to Francesc Teixidor and Clara Viñas "on the occasion of their 70th birthdays and in recognition of their valuable contributions to boron chemistry over the last 40 years, including hosting EUROBORON and IMEBORON conferences" as the article states. 

The article is part of the themed collection: Boron Chemistry in the 21st Century: From Synthetic Curiosities to Functional Molecules, a special collection with Guest Editors: Rosario Núñez, from ICMAB-CSIC, Robert J. Gilliard, from the University of Virginia and Caleb Martin, from Baylor University. The collection covers all areas of boron chemistry with an emphasis on synthesis and reactivity. This includes small molecules, boron clusters, frustrated Lewis pairs, borylation, catalysis, and ligand development.

The ChemComm article reports the synthesis and characterization of o-carborane-based fluorophores nanoparticles, that are synthesized in a controlled manner, and which can be dispersed in water. "O-carborane clusters directly attached to fluorophores are not water-soluble, so achieving monomeric water-dispersible o-carborane based nanoparticles without losing the fluorescence properties is developed for the first time in this study" affirms Rosario Núñez. 

"This work represents an advance in the preparation of fluorescent materials based on boron clusters, since the ability to emit light in the solid state has allowed us to prepare nanoparticles that are dispersible in water and that retain their luminescence properties" affirms researcher Rosario Núñez. In fact, these boron-based fluorophores show light-emitting properties both in the solid state and as water-dispersible nanoparticles. Moreover, nanoparticles processed as thin films also show high fluorescence efficiency, suggesting potential optical and optoelectronic applications, such as in OLEDs or semiconductors. 

"Fluorescent materials are advantageous in scientific research owing to their potential applications in the fields of sensors, cellular imaging and optoelectronic devices. They are used in aircraft carriers, LEDs, chemical sensors, semiconductors, fluorescent labelling in theranostic (diagnosis and therapy) purposes" explains Rosario Núñez. "We will carry out further investigations in vitro to find out more about their potentially use as fluorescent labelling for diagnosis and as anticancer agents in boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) owing to their cellular uptake" continues. 


A set of o-carborane-appended π-conjugated fluorophores and their light-emitting properties in the solid state are reported. The aggregation-induced emission enhancement (AIEE) exhibited for one of the fluorenyl derivatives paved the way to successfully preparing o-carborane-containing organic nanoparticles (NPs) homogeneously dispersed in aqueous media that maintain their luminescence properties. Notably, NPs processed as thin films also show high fluorescence efficiency, suggesting potential optical and optoelectronic applications.

Reference Article

o-Carborane-based fluorophores as efficient luminescent systems both as solids and as water-dispersible nanoparticles

Chem. Commun., 2022,58, 4016-4019
doi: 10.1039/D1CC07211K

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