An early investigation of ytterbium nanocolloids for selective and quantitative "multicolor" spectral CT imaging

Dipanjan Pan, Carsten O. Schirra, Angana Senpan, Anne H. Schmieder, Allen J. Stacy, Ewald Roessl, Axel Thran, Samuel A. Wickline, Roland Proska, Gregory M. Lanza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report a novel molecular imaging agent based on ytterbium designed for use with spectral "multicolor" computed tomography (CT). Spectral CT or multicolored CT provides all of the benefits of traditional CT, such as rapid tomographic X-ray imaging, but in addition, it simultaneously discriminates metal-rich contrast agents based on the elements unique X-ray K-edge energy signature. Our synthetic approach involved the use of organically soluble Yb(III) complex to produce nanocolloids of Yb of noncrystalline nature incorporating a high density of Yb (>500K/nanoparticle) into a stable metal particle. The resultant particles are constrained to vasculature (∼200 nm) and are highly selective for binding fibrin in the ruptured atherosclerotic plaque. Nanoparticles exhibited excellent signal sensitivity, and the spectral CT technique uniquely discriminates the K-edge signal (60 keV) of Yb from calcium (bones). Bioelimination and preliminary biodistribution reflected the overall safety and defined clearance of these particles in a rodent model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3364-3370
Number of pages7
JournalACS Nano
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 24 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • contrast agent
  • multicolor imaging
  • nanoparticle
  • spectral CT imaging
  • thrombus
  • ytterbium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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