Remarkable NIR Enhancement of Multifunctional Nanoprobes for in Vivo Trimodal Bioimaging and Upconversion Optical/T2-Weighted MRI-Guided Small Tumor Diagnosis

Zhigao Yi, Xiaolong Li, Zhenluan Xue, Xiao Liang, Wei Lu, Hao Peng, Hongrong Liu, Songjun Zeng, Jianhua Hao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

105 Citations (Scopus)


KGaA, Weinheim. Effective nanoprobes and contrast agents are urgently sought for early-stage cancer diagnosis. Upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) are considerable alternatives for bioimaging, cancer diagnosis, and therapy. Yb3+/Tm3+co-doping brings both emission and excitation wavelengths into the near-infrared (NIR) region, which is known as "optical transmission window" and ideally suitable for bioimaging. Here, NIR emission intensity is remarkably enhanced by 113 times with the increase of Yb3+concentration from 20% to 98% in polyethylene glycol (PEG) modified NaYF4:Yb3+/Tm3+UCNPs. PEG-UCNPs-5 (98% Yb3+) can act as excellent nanoprobes and contrast agents for trimodal upconversion (UC) optical/CT/T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In addition, the enhanced detection of lung in vivo long-lasting tracking, as well as possible clearance mechanism and excretion routes of PEG-UCNPs-5 have been demonstrated. More significantly, a small tumor down to 4 mm is detected in vivo via intravenous injection of these nanoprobes under both UC optical and T2-weighted MRI modalities. PEG-UCNPs-5 can emerge as bioprobes for multi-modal bioimaging, disease diagnosis, and therapy, especially the early-stage tumor diagnosis. A remarkable enhancement of NIR emission of multifunctional PEGylated upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) is developed. The nanoparticles serve as bioprobes and contrast agents for upconversion (UC) optical, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and CT trimodal bioimaging. Impressively, the developed UCNPs are successfully used for UC and T2-weighted MRI-guided early-stage diagnosis of small tumors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7119-7129
Number of pages11
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number46
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2015


  • biodistribution
  • enhanced near-infrared emission
  • trimodal bioimaging
  • tumor detection
  • upconversion nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrochemistry

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