Compounds for Lanthanide Ion Luminescence and Singlet Oxygen Generation





There is ongoing research towards the development of molecules with dual applications, such as light emission, to enable tracking by luminescence imaging. Singlet oxygen is cytotoxic; thus, it has use in photodynamic therapy, agricultural plague control, such as compounds with nematocidal and larvicidal properties, and in effluent treatment such as the purification of contaminated water.



Our researchers at the University of Nevada Reno created a system that can promote luminescence from lanthanide ions in the visible (Vis) and near-infrared (NIR) region of the spectrum. Our technology provides a novel alternative to real-time monitoring with high spatial resolution. Our system can also generate singlet oxygen. Our compounds can significantly benefit the industry as described in the advantages below.



  • High quantum yields of lanthanide emission and singlet oxygen generation, intense absorption in the Vis region of the spectrum and minimal photodegradation are features covered by our complexes. These features are fundamental for compounds intended for luminescence diagnosis and photodynamic applications.
  • Our systems provide multiple photodynamic applications including: clinical photodynamic therapy by singlet oxygen generation, luminescence imaging technology, treatment of wastewater effluents, and light-activated insecticides with imaging capabilities to promote healthy crops and increased harvest yields.
  • Our compounds have long shelf-lives, making them useful for applications that require continuous generation of singlet oxygen, such as in wastewater effluent treatment.
  • Our compounds have a potential dual diagnostic and therapeutic utility which can increase the efficiency of current treatments.
  • Our compounds absorb strongly in the Vis region and take advantage of the long-lived luminescence arising from the f-f transitions of lanthanides which facilitate the use of time-gated techniques to remove background interference from biological media and thus increase signal-to-noise ratio.





Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Shannon Sheehan
Manager, Technology Commercialization
University of Nevada, Reno
Ana de Bettencourt-Dias
Manuel (Alex) Gracia-Nava
Katherine Johnson