Multiscale optical imaging of rare-earth-doped nanocomposites in a small animal model

Laura M. Higgins, Vidya Ganapathy, Harini Kantamneni, Xinyu Zhao, Yang Sheng, Mei Chee Tan, Charles Roth, Richard Riman, Prabhas Moghe, Mark Pierce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Rare-earth-doped nanocomposites have appealing optical properties for use as biomedical contrast agents, but few systems exist for imaging these materials. We describe the design and characterization of (i) a preclinical system for whole animal in vivo imaging and (ii) an integrated optical coherence tomography/confocal microscopy system for high-resolution imaging of ex vivo tissues. We demonstrate these systems by administering erbium-doped nanocomposites to a murine model of metastatic breast cancer. Short-wave infrared emissions were detected in vivo and in whole organ imaging ex vivo. Visible upconversion emissions and tissue autofluorescence were imaged in biopsy specimens, alongside optical coherence tomography imaging of tissue microstructure. We anticipate that this work will provide guidance for researchers seeking to image these nanomaterials across a wide range of biological models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number030505
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering


  • NIR-II imaging
  • confocal microscopy
  • multimodal imaging
  • preclinical imaging
  • short-wave infrared imaging

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