Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Maged Henary - Committee Chair

Second Advisor

Alfons Baumstark - Committee Member

Third Advisor

Donald Hamelberg - Committee Member


Carbocyanine dyes are organic compounds containing chains of conjugated methine groups with electron-donating and electron-withdrawing substituents at the terminal heterocycles of the general formula [R1-(CH)n-R2]+X-. The synthetic methodology and optical properties of carbocyanines will be discussed. This thesis consists of two parts: (A) synthesis and optical properties of novel carbocyanine dyes substituted with various amines and the synthesis of unsymmetrical carbocyanine dyes containing monofunctional groups for bioconjugation. (B) synthesis of heptamethine carbocyanine dyes to be used for image-guided surgery. In part A, the synthesis of carbocyanine dyes functionalized with various amines and studies of their optical properties with respect to absorbance, fluorescence, quantum yield and extinction coefficient will be presented. These property studies will aid in designing efficient dyes for future biomedical applications. Part A will also include a one pot synthesis of unsymmetrical carbocyanine dyes functionalized with mono carboxylic acid chains, useful for biomolecule (i.e. proteins, amino acids, etc.) conjugation. Part B will describe the synthesis of novel carbocyanine dyes to be used for cancer image-guided surgery. Cancers are thus far incurable diseases, i.e. there are no drugs currently available to cure cancer; however, by designing a dye to visualize tumor cells will greatly increase the efficiency of cancer removal and hopefully increase the survival rate of cancer patients. The dyes reported in this thesis are superior to commercially available dyes used to visualize and identify various tumors invisible to the naked eye of surgeons with regards to biodistribution and clearance through kidney filtration.