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Exploiting a neutral BODIPY copolymer as an effective agent for photodynamic antimicrobial inactivation.

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-12-21, 11:27 authored by Aoibhín A Cullen, Ashwene Rajagopal, Katharina Heintz, Andreas HeiseAndreas Heise, Robert MurphyRobert Murphy, Igor V Sazanovich, Gregory M Greetham, Michael Towrie, Conor Long, Deirdre Fitzgerald HughesDeirdre Fitzgerald Hughes, Mary T Pryce
We report the synthesis and photophysical properties of a neutral BODIPY photosensitizing copolymer (poly-8-(4-hydroxymethylphenyl)-4,4-difluoro-2,6-diethynyl-4-bora- 3a,4a-diaza-s-indacene) containing ethynylbenzene links between the BODIPY units. The copolymer absorbs further towards the red in the UV-vis spectrum compared to the BODIPY precursor. Photolysis of the polymer produces a singlet excited state which crosses to the triplet surface in less than 300 ps. This triplet state was used to form singlet oxygen with a quantum yield of 0.34. The steps leading to population of the triplet state were studied using time-resolved spectroscopic techniques spanning the pico- to nanosecond timescales. The ability of the BODIPY polymer to generate a biocidal species for bactericidal activity in both solution- and coating-based studies was assessed. When the BODIPY copolymer was dropcast onto a surface, 4 log and 6 log reductions in colony forming units/ml representative of Gram-positive and Gramnegative bacteria, respectively, under illumination at 525 nm were observed. The potent broadspectrum antimicrobial activity of a neutral metal-free copolymer when exposed to visible light conditions may have potential clinical applications in infection management.


Towards novel anti-infectives with enhanced wound-healing for diabetic foot infections; CO-releasing star-shaped microbicidal polymers | Funder: Health Research Board / HRB | Grant ID: MRCG-2018-01

Exploiting Singlet Fission: An Innovative Design Strategy For Antimicrobial Materials | Funder: Science Foundation Ireland | Grant ID: Frontiers Programme 2019

Irish Research Council (AAC) (EPSPG/2016/158)

SFI (19/FFP/6882 award)

STFC Central Laser Facility for granting access to the ULTRA system under EU Access Grant (2019 no. 19230040)



The original article is available at https://pubs.acs.org/

Published Citation

Cullen AA. et al. Exploiting a neutral BODIPY copolymer as an effective agent for photodynamic antimicrobial inactivation. J Phys Chem B. 2021;125(6):1550-1557.

Publication Date

4 February 2021

PubMed ID



  • Amber (Advanced Material & Bioengineering Research) Centre
  • Beaumont Hospital
  • Chemistry
  • Clinical Microbiology
  • CURAM Centre for Research in Medical Devices

Research Area

  • Immunity, Infection and Inflammation
  • Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine


American Chemical Society (ACS)


  • Published Version (Version of Record)