In this study, we report a comprehensive time-resolved spectroscopic investigation of the excited-state deactiva-tion mechanism in three push-pull isomers characterized by a phenothiazine electron donor, a benzothiazole electron acceptor, and a phenyl pi-bridge where the connection is realized at the relative ortho, meta, and para positions. Spin-orbit charge-transfer-induced intersystem crossing takes place with high yield in these all-org a n i c donor-acceptor compounds, leading also to efficient production of singlet oxygen. Our spectroscopic results giv e clear evidence of room-temperature phosphorescence not only in solid-state host-guest matrices but also in highly biocompatible aggregates of these isomers produced in water dispersions, as rarely reported in the literature. Moreover, aggregates of the isomers could be internalized by lung cancer and melanoma cells and display bright luminescence without any dark cytotoxic effect. On the other hand, the isomers showed significant cel l u l a r phototoxicity against the tumor cells due to light-induced reactive oxygen species generation. Our findings strongly suggest that nanoaggregates of the investigated isomers are promising candidates for imaging-guided photodynamic therapy.
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