3D Long-Range Triplet Migration in a Water-Stable Metal-Organic Framework for Upconversion-Based Ultralow-Power in Vivo Imaging.
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Triplet-triplet annihilation upconversion (TTA-UC) has gained increasing attention because it allows for harvesting of low-energy photons in the solar spectrum with high efficiency in relevant applications including solar cells and bioimaging. However, the utilization of conventional TTA-UC systems for low-power bioapplications is significantly hampered by their general incompatibility and low efficiency in aqueous media. Herein we report a metal-organic framework (MOF) as a biocompatible nanoplatform for TTA-UC to realize low-power in vivo imaging. Our MOF consists of a porphyrinic sensitizer in an anthracene-based Zr-MOF as a TTA-UC platform. In particular, closely aligned chromophores in the MOF facilitate a long-range 3D triplet diffusion of 1.6 m allowing efficient energy migration in water. The tunable ratio between sensitizer and annihilator by our synthetic method also allows an optimization of the system for maximized TTA-UC efficiency in water at a very low excitation power density. Consequently, the low-power imaging of lymph node in a live mouse was successfully demonstrated with an excellent signal-to-noise ratio (SNR > 30 at 5 mW cm-2).