The establishment of multiplex photoacoustic molecular imaging to characterize heterogeneous tissues requires the use of a tunable, thermally stable contrast agent targeted to specific cell types. We have developed a multiplex photoacoustic imaging technique which uses targeted silica-coated gold nanorods to distinguish cell inclusions in vitro. This paper describes the use of tunable targeted silica-coated gold nanorods (SiO2-AuNRs) as contrast agents for photoacoustic molecular imaging. SiO2-AuNRs with peak absorption wavelengths of 780 nm and 830 nm were targeted to cells expressing different cell receptors. Cells were incubated with the targeted SiO2-AuNRs, incorporated in a tissue phantom, and imaged using multiwavelength photoacoustic imaging. We used photoacoustic imaging and statistical correlation analysis to distinguish between the unique cell inclusions within the tissue phantom.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics