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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Mar 17;106(11):4085-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0813019106. Epub 2009 Feb 26.

Picomolar sensitivity MRI and photoacoustic imaging of cobalt nanoparticles.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Multimodality imaging based on complementary detection principles has broad clinical applications and promises to improve the accuracy of medical diagnosis. This means that a tracer particle advantageously incorporates multiple functionalities into a single delivery vehicle. In the present work, we explore a unique combination of MRI and photoacoustic tomography (PAT) to detect picomolar concentrations of nanoparticles. The nanoconstruct consists of ferromagnetic (Co) particles coated with gold (Au) for biocompatibility and a unique shape that enables optical absorption over a broad range of frequencies. The end result is a dual-modality probe useful for the detection of trace amounts of nanoparticles in biological tissues, in which MRI provides volume detection, whereas PAT performs edge detection.

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