Designing Responsive Materials with Chemically Amplified Sensitivity to NIR light

N. Fomina, C. McFearin, M. Sermsakdi, J. Morachis, A. Almutairi
University of California at San Diego, US

Keywords: NIR light degradable, NIR light responsive, self-immolative, chemical amplification, polymer, dendrimer, two-photon


We employ near infrared (NIR) light as an external trigger for controlled material degradation and targeted release of a payload. NIR light can penetrate through tissues to an appreciable depth without scattering or damaging it. Thus, it may be used for targeted delivery of therapeutics and/or imaging agents in vivo. It has been generally difficult to apply NIR light in vivo due to the limited number of photons that can reach a material to initiate a measurable response. We designed amplified response systems – polymers and dendrimers – to overcome this limitation. Their design is based on self-immolative molecular units that undergo a cascade of rearrangements leading to cleavage of multiple bonds and unraveling of the entire material in response to NIR light.