Plasmon-resonant gold nanorods are demonstrated as low back-scattering albedo contrast agents for optical coherence tomography (OCT). We define the backscattering albedo, a′, as the ratio of the backscattering to extinction coefficient. Contrast agents which modify a' within the host tissue phantoms are detected with greater sensitivity by the differential OCT measurement of both a′ and extinction. Optimum sensitivity is achieved by maximizing the difference between contrast agents and tissue, |a′ca - a′tiss|. Low backscattering albedo gold nanorods (14 × 44 nm; λmax = 780 nm) within a high backscattering albedo tissue phantom with an uncertainty in concentration of 20% (randomized 2±0.4% intralipid) were readily detected at 82 ppm (by weight) in a regime where extinction alone could not discriminate nanorods. The estimated threshold of detection was 30 ppm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6724-6738
Number of pages15
JournalOptics Express
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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