Silica shell-assisted synthetic route for mono-disperse persistent nanophosphors with enhanced in vivo recharged near-infrared persistent luminescence

Rui Zou, Junjian Huang, Junpeng Shi, Lin Huang, Xuejie Zhang, Ka Leung Wong, Hongwu Zhang, Dayong Jin, Jing Wang*, Qiang Su

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Near-infrared (NIR) persistent-luminescence nanoparticles have emerged as a new class of background-free contrast agents that are promising for in vivo imaging. The next key roadblock is to establish a robust and controllable method for synthesizing monodisperse nanoparticles with high luminescence brightness and long persistent duration. Herein, we report a synthesis strategy involving the coating/etching of the SiO2 shell to obtain a new class of small NIR highly persistent luminescent ZnGa2O4:Cr3+,Sn4+ (ZGOCS) nanoparticles. The optimized ZGOCS nanoparticles have an excellent size distribution of ~15 nm without any agglomeration and an NIR persistent luminescence that is enhanced by a factor of 13.5, owing to the key role of the SiO2 shell in preventing nanoparticle agglomeration after annealing. The ZGOCS nanoparticles have a signal-to-noise ratio ~3 times higher than that of previously reported ZnGa2O4:Cr3+ (ZGC-1) nanoparticles as an NIR persistent-luminescence probe for in vivo bioimaging. Moreover, the persistent-luminescence signal from the ZGOCS nanoparticles can be repeatedly re-charged in situ with external excitation by a white lightemitting diode; thus, the nanoparticles are suitable for long-term in vivo imaging applications. Our study suggests an improved strategy for fabricating novel high-performance optical nanoparticles with good biocompatibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2070-2082
Number of pages13
JournalNano Research
Volume10
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • core-shell structure
  • in vivo imaging
  • narrow size distribution
  • near-infrared (NIR) persistent luminescence
  • biocompatibility

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