University of Notre Dame,
Keywords: nanoparticle, biomedical imaging, diagnostics
Summary:The modular synthetic approach that was developed to design a spectral library of core-shell nanoparticle contrast agents, which will have broad applications in biomedical imaging due to the potential for multi-modal imaging (e.g., fluorescence, MRI, X-ray) and active targeting through molecular surface functionalization. Gadolinium oxide, hafnium oxide, and gold core compositions were prepared at a common size (12-15 nm) using sol-gel and microemulsion syntheses. Nanoparticle cores were encapsulated in a silica shell with a controlled thickness of 1-15 nm using polymer shells or microemulsions. Controlled silica shell formation enabled the incorporation of fluorescent molecules and provided a common platform for molecular surface functionalization using silane chemistry. Antibodies and other small molecules were efficiently conjugated to the nanoparticles using carbodiimide chemistry. We anticipate that this modular approach will provide a platform for facile customization of multi-component nanoparticles with tailored surface functionality that will have applications beyond the biomedical field due to the ability to customize electromagnetic properties in a size, shape and elemental composition-dependent manner.