Enhanced near-infrared photoacoustic imaging of silica-coated rare-earth doped nanoparticles

Yang Sheng, Lun De Liao, Aishwarya Bandla, Yu Hang Liu, Jun Yuan, Nitish Thakor, Mei Chee Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Near-infrared photoacoustic (PA) imaging is an emerging diagnostic technology that utilizes the tissue transparent window to achieve improved contrast and spatial resolution for deep tissue imaging. In this study, we investigated the enhancement effect of the SiO2 shell on the PA property of our core/shell rare-earth nanoparticles (REs) consisting of an active rare-earth doped core of NaYF4:Yb,Er (REDNPs) and an undoped NaYF4 shell. We observed that the PA signal amplitude increased with SiO2 shell thickness. Although the SiO2 shell caused an observed decrease in the integrated fluorescence intensity due to the dilution effect, fluorescence quenching of the rare earth emitting ions within the REDNPs cores was successfully prevented by the undoped NaYF4 shell. Therefore, our multilayer structure consisting of an active core with successive functional layers was demonstrated to be an effective design for dual-modal fluorescence and PA imaging probes with improved PA property. The result from this work addresses a critical need for the development of dual-modal contrast agent that advances deep tissue imaging with high resolution and signal-to-noise ratio.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-346
Number of pages7
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Fluorescence
  • Nanoparticles
  • Near-infrared
  • Photoacoustic
  • Rare-earth
  • Silica

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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