Author ORCID Identifier


Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Joseph Turner

Second Advisor

Xuewei Wang

Third Advisor

Vladimir Sidorov

Fourth Advisor

Julio Alvarez

Fifth Advisor

Hong Zhao


The current healthcare system often relies on occasional checkups, which can result in diseases being undetected until severe symptoms are present, leading to a reactive approach to healthcare. Optochemical sensors and nanoparticles (NPs) have the potential to address this deficiency by enabling real-time and continuous analysis of various biomarkers, allowing for proactive healthcare based on evidence at a molecular level. This study focused on enhancing and functionalizing current implantables or wearables through three different optochemical sensors and devices: ion-selective optodes (ISO), chemical sensors, and fluorescent NPs. We developed cost-effective and mass-reproducible ISOs by modifying sports fabrics with sensing chemicals, such as a pH indicator, an ion exchanger, and an ionophore, via inkjet printing. The ISOs retained the essential properties of fabrics, including flexibility, stretchability, wickability, and breathability, while allowing continuous monitoring of various biomarkers in sweat (Na+, K+, pH). Moreover, we created an indwelling catheter-based chemical sensor by functionalizing a foley catheter for on-body detection of Escherichia coli (E. coli) in biofluids such as urine. The nitrosation of indole initiates the reaction, generating a red dimeric product, indoxyl red, with high absorbance at 537 nm. Our method can detect indole and E. coli in real foley catheters, providing a promising avenue for real-time and continuous monitoring of biomarkers. Additionally, we enhanced the fluorescence of organic fluorescent NPs used for bioimaging by making them biocompatible and reducing quenching caused by the aggregation of dye molecules. We developed a novel method to prevent aggregation-caused quenching (ACQ) of cationic dyes using mercuracarborands (MCs). The MCs spontaneously self-assemble and form a complex with various anion counterparts of the cationic dye within the NP, increasing the spatial distance between neighboring dye molecules and reducing excitonic coupling and ACQ. Lastly, the study addresses a long-standing issue in fluorescence analysis known as the inner filter effect (IFE). The impact of IFE was mitigated in the analysis of high concentrations of quinine sulfate by employing multiple fluorescence spectrometers with different slit configurations (horizontal and vertical) and applying mathematical corrections. This approach enables researchers to obtain precise fluorescence measurements and achieve more accurate analysis, which is crucial for the reliable interpretation of fluorescence measurements. This study demonstrates the significant promise of optochemical sensors and NPs for real-time and continuous monitoring of various biomarkers and a more precise bioimaging technique.


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Available for download on Monday, May 08, 2028