An analyte sensing fluorescent molecule that employs intramolecular electron transfer is designed to exhibit selected fluorescent properties in the presence of analytes such as saccharides. The selected fluorescent properties include excitation wavelength, emission wavelength, fluorescence lifetime, quantum yield, photostability, solubility, and temperature or pH sensitivity. The compound comprises an aryl or a substituted phenyl boronic acid that acts as a substrate recognition component, a fluorescence switch component, and a fluorophore. The fluorophore and switch component are selected such that the value of the free energy for electron transfer is less than about 3.0 kcal mol.sup.-1. Fluorescent compounds are described that are excited at wavelengths greater than 400 nm and emit at wavelengths greater than 450 nm, which is advantageous for optical transmission through skin. The fluorophore is typically selected from transition metal-ligand complexes and thiazine, oxazine, oxazone, or oxazine-one as well as anthracene compounds. The fluorescent compound can be immobilized in a glucose permeable biocompatible polymer matrix that is implantable below the skin.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.