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In vivo time-gated fluorescence imaging with biodegradable luminescent porous silicon nanoparticles.

  • Author(s): Gu, Luo
  • Hall, David J
  • Qin, Zhengtao
  • Anglin, Emily
  • Joo, Jinmyoung
  • Mooney, David J
  • Howell, Stephen B
  • Sailor, Michael J
  • et al.
Abstract

Fluorescence imaging is one of the most versatile and widely used visualization methods in biomedical research. However, tissue autofluorescence is a major obstacle confounding interpretation of in vivo fluorescence images. The unusually long emission lifetime (5-13 μs) of photoluminescent porous silicon nanoparticles can allow the time-gated imaging of tissues in vivo, completely eliminating shorter-lived (<10 ns) emission signals from organic chromophores or tissue autofluorescence. Here using a conventional animal imaging system not optimized for such long-lived excited states, we demonstrate improvement of signal to background contrast ratio by >50-fold in vitro and by >20-fold in vivo when imaging porous silicon nanoparticles. Time-gated imaging of porous silicon nanoparticles accumulated in a human ovarian cancer xenograft following intravenous injection is demonstrated in a live mouse. The potential for multiplexing of images in the time domain by using separate porous silicon nanoparticles engineered with different excited state lifetimes is discussed.

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