High Stokes Shift Fluorescent Dyes


Description of Technology

One of the major challenges and limitations of fluorescence microscopy and biological imaging is the need for more efficient fluorescent dyes. A common problem with fluresceins and rhodamines, which are typically used for labelling antibodies, is their tendency to self-quench. The well known BODIPY dyes were introduced as replacement for the previous ones. These dyes have the advantage of displaying high quantum yields, however, they still have a major disadvantage of very small Stokes shift (8-50nm).

As the interest for biological imaging and fluorescence microscopy keeps growing rapidly, market data shows that contrast reagents (which include fluorescent dyes) have the largest share of the global biologic imaging reageants market accounting for approximately $2.6 billion in the last five years. This segment is estimated to compound at an annual growth rate of 7.2% (Source: BCC Research, Market Forecasting).

Researchers at the University of Calgary have addressed this crucial need in a growing industry by creating a new family of dyes with large Stokes shift and solvatochromic properties. The dyes have an advantage of differentiating between solvent polarities which is useful for labelling cell membranes, protein binding sites, and liposome. A larger Stokes shift eliminates spectral overlap between absorption and emission and allows detection of fluorescence while reducing interference. This also eliminates quenching of fluorescence and gives a stronger signal when used for biological imaging.

Areas of Application
  • Fluorescence in biological imaging
  • Fluorescence lifetime assays
  • Flow cytometry
  • In vitro studies for detection of proteins, nucleic acids, other biological macromolecules; and potential for in vivo studies
  • Multiplexing of dyes and potential application in FRET-based systems
IP Status
Competitive Advantages
  • Large Stokes shift of approximately 100 nm
  • Fluorescence life time up to 11.1 ns
  • Quantum yields up to 0.75 depending upon the dye
  • Photo-stability in aqueous and organic solutions
  • Solvatochromism
Stage Of Development
  • A number of new dyes have been synthesized and structurally verified and fluorescence properties have been experimentally validated
  • Dyes are being tested for liposome labeling applications