• polythiophene;
  • cellular imaging;
  • anticancer drugs


A new amphiphilic conjugated polythiophene derivative (PT–Boc) is synthesized via Suzuki coupling reaction. The amphiphilic characteristic makes it form nanoaggregates in water, in which hydrophobic moieties come together to form the inner core. The polymer shows good photostability and no toxicity to human lung epithelial (A549) cells even at a high concentration (100 μg mL−1). It therefore meets the crucial requirement for cellular imaging and other biological applications. The anticancer drug cisplatin is used as a model, and is linked to polythiophene to obtain a conjugate ‘PT–Pt’ by coordinated interactions between cisplatin and the amine groups of the polythiophene side chain. The PT–Pt can be used for monitoring the cellular distribution of cisplatin by fluorescence microscopy. The amphiphilic polythiophene provides a platform for fluorescent imaging of drugs and biological molecules in living cells.