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Our group is interested in the development of new fluorescent materials with applications in biological systems. On one hand, we design and develop fluorescent biosensors with high sensitivity, based on the entrapment of organic molecules and biomolecules in inorganic matrices, and characterize these hybrid materials at a molecular level in order to improve their applications. On the other hand, we work on the design, synthesis and characterization of novel fluorescent conjugated polyfluorenes, to be used as nanoparticles and nanofibers in applications such as bioimaging, drug delivery, clinical diagnosis and sensing devices for biomolecules. Other group activities include the characterization of macromolecular interactions, especially in non-conventional systems, such as ionic liquids as well as the synthesis of conjugated polymers to be applied in photonics and optoelectronics devices.


New Red-Emitting Conjugated Polyelectrolyte: Stabilization by Interaction with Biomolecules and Potential Use as Drug Carriers and Bioimaging Probes. Z. Kahveci, R. Vázquez-Guilló, M.J. Martínez-Tomé, R. Mallavia, and C. R. Mateo. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2016, 8 (3), pp 1958–1969DOI: 10.1021/acsami.5b10167.

In this work, we have synthesized and characterized a new red-emitting cationic conjugated polyelectrolyte copoly-{[9,9-bis(6′-N,N,N-trimethylammonium)hexyl]-2,7-(fluorene)-alt-1,4-(naphtho[2,3c]-1,2,5-thiadiazole)} bromide (HTMA-PFNT), based on the incorporation of naphtha[2,3c][1,2,5] thiadiazole on fluorene backbone to increase the bathochromic emission, extending the conjugation length in the polymer backbone.

Water stabilization was achieved by binding the polyelectrolyte to two different biological systems which are currently used as nanocarriers: human serum albumin (HSA) and lipid vesicles. Using both systems, stable nanostructures of different composition were obtained and their properties were characterized. The properties of the protein-based nanoparticles are consistent with polyelectrolyte aggregates covered with HSA molecules, while the liposome system is composed of lipid vesicles coated with polyelectrolyte chains partially inserted in the bilayer.

Both protein and vesicle structural integrity were not affected after their interaction with HTMA-PFNT, as well as the carrier properties, allowing for the binding and transport of ligands. In addition, the nanoparticles displayed the ability of labeling the cell membrane of living cells. All these results extend the potential applications of these novel multifunctional nanoparticles as therapeutic carriers and bioimaging probes.

Novel electrospun luminescent nanofibers from cationic polyfluorene/cellulose acetate blend. Vázquez-Guilló R, Calero A, Valente AJM, Burrows HD; Mateo CR, Mallavia R. Cellulose 2013 Nov 20(1): 169-177 doi: 10.1007/s10570-012-9809-y

This work reports production of nanofibers of cellulose acetate (CA) via electrospinning (ES) technology. Optimal operating conditions to produce nanofibers have been found to involve CA solutions at 20wt% concentration, flow rate 1.0 mL h−1, a distance between needle tip-collector target of 15 cm and an applied voltage at 20 kV. Under these experimental conditions, nanofibers were produced by ES a solution containing a low concentration of a luminescent fluorene-based cationic conjugated polyelectrolyte. Electronic and optical microscopies were used to characterize their morphology and the diameter of fibers (over 260 nm). Composite fibers with excellent luminescence properties have been obtained and studied in the solid state. Potential applications in a sensing device for nitrobenzene have been tested.


Carmen Reyes Mateo Martínez

Ricardo Mallavia Marin

Mª José Martínez Tomé


Rocío Esquembre Tomé


Rebeca Vázquez Guilló

Zehra Kahveci

Amalia Mira Picó


Elisa Pérez García


  1. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2016 Jan 27;8(3):1958-69. doi: 10.1021/acsami.5b10167. Epub 2016 Jan 12. New Red-Emitting Conjugated Polyelectrolyte: Stabilization by Interaction with Biomolecules and Potential Use as Drug Carriers and Bioimaging Probes. Kahveci Z, Vázquez-Guilló R, Martínez-Tomé MJ, Mallavia R, Mateo CR.
  2. Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2016 Jan 28. doi: 10.1039/C5CP07085F [Epub ahead of print] Self-assembled systems of water soluble metal 8-hydroxyquinolates with surfactants and conjugated polyelectrolytes. Burrows HD, Costa T, Ramos ML, Valente AJ, Stewart B, Justino LL, Almeida AI, Catarina NL, Mallavia R, Knaapila M.
  3. RSC Adv. 2015 Apr; 5:41497-41505. doi: 10.1039/C5RA03809J. Polymeric films based on blends of 6FDA-6FpDa polymide plus several copolyfluorens for CO2 separation. A. Tena, R. Vázquez-Guilló, A. Marcos-Fernández, A. Hernández and R. Mallavia.
  4. Materials. 2014 March 13;7(3):2120-2140. doi:10.3390/ma7032120. Selective Interaction of a Cationic Polyfluorene with Model Lipid Membranes: Anionic versus Zwitterionic Lipids. Kahveci Z, Martínez-Tomé MJ, Esquembre R, Mallavia R, Mateo CR.
  5. J Phys Chem B. 2014 Jan 16;118(2):460-9. doi: 10.1021/jp409491d. Epub 2013 Dec 30. In depth analysis of the quenching of three fluorene-phenylene-based cationic conjugated polyelectrolytes by DNA and DNA bases. Davies ML, Douglas P, Burrows HD, Martincigh B, Miguel Mda G, Scherf U, Mallavia R, Douglas A.
  6. Cellulose 2013 Nov 20(1): 169-177 doi: 10.1007/s10570-012-9809-y. Novel electrospun luminescent nanofibers from cationic polyfluorene/cellulose acetate blend. Vázquez-Guilló R, Calero A, Valente AJM, Burrows HD; Mateo CR, Mallavia R.
  7. Phys Chem Chem Phys. 2013 Jul 21;15(27):11248-56. doi: 10.1039/c3cp44299c. Epub 2013 May 31. Thermal unfolding and refolding of lysozyme in deep eutectic solvents and their aqueous dilutions. Esquembre R, Sanz JM, Wall JG, del Monte F, Mateo CR, Ferrer ML.
  8. Biomacromolecules. 2013 Jun 10;14(6):1990-8. doi: 10.1021/bm400348n. Epub 2013 May 20. Use of the conjugated polyelectrolyte poly{[9,9-bis(6'-N,N,N-trimethylammonium)hexyl]-fluorene-phenylene} bromide (HTMA-PFP) as a fluorescent membrane marker. Kahveci Z, Martínez-Tomé MJ, Mallavia R, Mateo CR.
  9. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2013 Apr 24;5(8):2952-8. doi: 10.1021/am400570t. Epub 2013 Apr 12. Stabilization of neutral polyfluorene in aqueous solution through their interaction with phospholipids and sol-gel encapsulation. Mallavia R, Martínez-Tomé MJ, Vázquez-Guilló R, Kahveci Z, Estepa A, Mateo CR.
  10. J Fluoresc. 2013 Jan;23(1):171-80. doi: 10.1007/s10895-012-1130-5. Epub 2012 Sep 20. Formation and characterization of stable fluorescent complexes between neutral conjugated polymers and cyclodextrins. Martínez-Tomé MJ, Esquembre R, Mallavia R, Mateo CR.


PROMETEO/2013/018. Interacción proteína-polielectrolito: diseño racional de nuevas herramientas en la optimización de procesos biotecnológicos. Conselleria de Educación, Formación y Empleo. 01/01/2013- 31/12/2016.

MAT-2014-53282R. Desarrollo de nanoestructuras basada en polielectrolitos para su aplicación como herramientas de diagnóstico, transporte de fármacos y diseño de biosensores. Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, Universidad Miguel Hernández 01/01/2015-31/12/2017.