Nanoshells as an optical coherence tomography contrast agent
Nanoshells are a layered dielectric core/metal shell composite nanostructure with an optical resonance geometrically tunable through the visible and near infrared. Due to their small size, ability to generate a strong backscattering signal, and potential for surface modification, they may be an ideal in vivo optical coherence tomography contrast agent. We performed a pilot study to assess their capabilities. Images of a cuvette filled with dilute nanoshells, 2 μm polystyrene microspheres, or a combination were obtained. When compared to microspheres, images of the nanoshells where much brighter and attenuation of the bottom cuvette interface less. Injection of micropheres into the tail vein of mice and hamsters caused a noticeable brightening of OCT images of the dorsal skin. These pilot studies indicate that nanoshells may be an excellent OCT contrast agent; work is continuing to determine optimum nanoshell parameters and applications.
Barton, JK; Halas, NJ; West, JL; Drezek, RA
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