Nanotheranostics 2022; 6(1):91-102. doi:10.7150/ntno.63124 This issue


Near-infrared probes for luminescence lifetime imaging

Benhao Li1,2,3,4, Jing Lin1, Peng Huang1✉, Xiaoyuan Chen2,3,4✉

1. Marshall Laboratory of Biomedical Engineering, International Cancer Center, Laboratory of Evolutionary Theranostics (LET), School of Biomedical Engineering, Shenzhen University Health Science Center, Shenzhen 518060, China
2. Departments of Diagnostic Radiology, Surgery, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and Faculty of Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore, 119074, Singapore
3. Clinical Imaging Research Centre, Centre for Translational Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117599, Singapore
4. Nanomedicine Translational Research Program, NUS Center for Nanomedicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117597, Singapore
In memory of Dr. Sanjiv Sam Gambhir and Dr. Moritz Kircher.

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Li B, Lin J, Huang P, Chen X. Near-infrared probes for luminescence lifetime imaging. Nanotheranostics 2022; 6(1):91-102. doi:10.7150/ntno.63124. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Biomedical luminescence imaging in the near-infrared (NIR, 700-1700 nm) region has shown great potential in visualizing biological processes and pathological conditions at cellular and animal levels, owing to the reduced tissue absorption and scattering compared to light in the visible (400-700 nm) region. To overcome the background interference and signal attenuation during intensity-based luminescence imaging, lifetime imaging has demonstrated a reliable imaging modality complementary to intensity measurement. Several selective or environment-responsive probes have been successfully developed for luminescence lifetime imaging and multiplex detection. This review summarizes recent advances in the application of luminescence lifetime imaging at cellular and animal levels in NIR-I and NIR-II regions. Finally, the challenges and further directions of luminescence lifetime imaging are also discussed.

Keywords: Near-infrared probes, luminescence imaging, lifetime imaging, stimuli responsive, second near-infrared window