Carbon nanoparticles as a multimodal thermoacoustic and photoacoustic contrast agent

Xin Cai, Lina Wu, Wenxin Xing, Jun Xia, Liming Nie, Ruiying Zhang, Gregory M. Lanza, Baozhong Shen, Dipanjan Pan, Lihong V. Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


We demonstrated the potential of carbon nanoparticles (CNPs) as exogenous contrast agents for both thermoacoustic (TA) tomography (TAT) and photoacoustic (PA) tomography (PAT). In comparison to deionized water, the CNPs provided a four times stronger signal in TAT at 3 GHz. In comparison to blood, The CNPs provided a much stronger signal in PAT over a broad wavelength range of 450-850 nm. Specifically, the maximum signal enhancement in PAT was 9.4 times stronger in the near-infrared window of 635-670 nm. In vivo blood-vessel PA imaging was performed non-invasively on a mouse femoral area. The images, captured after the tail vein injection of CNPs, show a gradual enhancement of the optical absorption in the vessels by up to 230%. The results indicate that CNPs can be potentially used as contrast agents for TAT and PAT to monitor the intravascular or extravascular pathways in clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPhotons Plus Ultrasound
Subtitle of host publicationImaging and Sensing 2013
ISBN (Print)9780819493507
StatePublished - Mar 4 2013
Externally publishedYes
EventPhotons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2013 - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Feb 3 2013Feb 5 2013

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherPhotons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • carbon
  • Contrast agents
  • nanoparticle
  • photoacoustic tomography
  • thermoacoutic tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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