Few xanthene-based near-infrared (NIR) photoacoustic (PA) dyes with absorbance >800 nm exist. As accessibility to these dyes requires long and tedious synthetic steps, we designed a NIR dye (XanthCR-880) with thienylpiperidine donors and a xanthene acceptor that is accessible in 3-4 synthetic steps. The dye boasts a strong PA signal at 880 nm with good biological compatibility and photostability, yields multiplexed imaging with an aza-BODIPY reference dye, and is detected at a depth of 4 cm.

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