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Title: Functional dyes as tools for neurophysiology
Author: Reeve, James Edward
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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The aim of the project described in this thesis is to synthesise new functional molecules which interact with light for neurophysiological applications. In particular, I describe a family of amphiphilic porphyrins with large first hyperpolarisabilities which are used as SHG contrast agents and voltage-sensitive probes. In addition I detail a methodological microscopy tool and a novel caged form of a neuronal ion-channel antagonist. Chapter 1 introduces the key concepts underlying the use of dyes as SHG contrast agents. In particular it focuses on aspects of molecular design, covering both the amphiphilicity and nolinearity required by the target molecule. It covers quantification of the nonlinear properties of SHG stains, then surveys a number of examples which showcase the flexibility of SHG imaging as a biomedical technique. Chapter 2 describes a family of amphiphilic porphyrins with large first hyperpolarisabilities. Working from the structure-property relationships identified in Chapter 1, we fully characterise these dyes and demonstrate that they can be used in SHG imaging. We demonstrate that these molecules may also be tuned by complexation of a metal ion which can modulate their photophysical and solubility behaviour. Chapter 3 provides a description of how to determine the orientational distribution of dipolar dyes in a membrane by multiphoton microscopy. We measure the signal intensity of the dye in a model membrane system then find distributional moments which lead to the distribution itself. Chapter 4 explores whether off-axis contributions to the first hyperpolarisability tensor can significantly augment the dominant on-axis contribution from the main dipolar charge-transfer band. We synthesise and characterise a series of cis-donor cis-acceptor porphyrin compounds and explore their biophysical characteristics. Chapter 5 is the culmination of this project and after discussing method development, goes on to show how we measure the voltage sensitivity of an amphiphilic porphyrin SHG dye. We compare the archetypal porphyrin dye chromophore with three commercially available styryl dyes and demonstrate that our dye has greater sensitivity and a more rapid response. Chapter 6 describes a side project, the use of a photolabile cage to protect MK801, a neuronal ion-channel antagonist. By developing a water soluble photolabile cage using molecular design techniques, we are able to release MK801 in neurons with precise spatiotemporal control, allowing us to pinpoint the locus of two key neurophysiological processes.
Supervisor: Anderson, Harry L. Sponsor: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Organic chemistry ; Advanced materials ; Biophysics ; Microscopy ; Second Harmonic Generation ; Porphyrin ; non-linear optics