A green synthesis of carbon nanoparticles from honey and their use in real-time photoacoustic imaging

Lina Wu, Xin Cai, Kate Nelson, Wenxin Xing, Jun Xia, Ruiying Zhang, Allen J. Stacy, Micah Luderer, Gregory M. Lanza, Lihong V. Wang, Baozhong Shen, Dipanjan Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Imaging sentinel lymph nodes (SLN) could provide us with critical information about the progression of a cancerous disease. Real-time high-resolution intraoperative photoacoustic imaging (PAI) in conjunction with a near-infrared (NIR) probe may offer opportunities for the immediate imaging for direct identification and resection of SLN or collecting tissue samples. In this work a commercially amenable synthetic methodology is revealed for fabricating luminescent carbon nanoparticles with rapid clearance properties. A one-pot "green" technique is pursued, which involved rapid surface passivation of carbon nanoparticles with organic macromolecules (e.g., polysorbate, polyethyleneglycol) in solvent-free conditions. Interestingly, the naked carbon nanoparticles are derived for the first time, from commercial food grade honey. Surface coated particles are markedly smaller (∼7 nm) than previously explored particles (gold, single-walled carbon nanotubes, copper) for SLN imaging. The results indicate an exceptionally rapid signal enhancement (∼2 min) of the SLN. Owing to their strong optical absorption in the NIR region, tiny size and rapid lymphatic transport, this platform offers great potential for faster resection of SLN and may lower complications caused in axillary investigation by mismarking with dyes or low-resolution imaging techniques. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-325
Number of pages14
JournalNano Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • carbon nanoparticle
  • contrast agents
  • honey
  • photoacoustic
  • real-time imaging
  • tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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