Molecular photoacoustic imaging using gold nanoparticles as a contrast agent

Chulhong Kim, Eun Chul Cho, Jingyi Chen, Kwang Hyun Song, Leslie Au, Christopher P. Favazza, Qiang Zhang, Claire M. Cobley, Younan Xia, Lihong V. Wang

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

2 Scopus citations


Gold nanoparticles have received much attention due to their potential diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Gold nanoparticles are attractive in many biomedical applications because of their biocompatibility, easily modifiable surfaces for targeting, lack of heavy metal toxicity, wide range of sizes (35-100 nm), tunable plasmonic resonance peak, encapsulated site-specific drug delivery, and strong optical absorption in the near-infrared regime. Specifically, due to their strong optical absorption, gold nanoparticles have been used as a contrast agent for molecular photoacoustic (PA) imaging of tumor. The plasmonic resonance peak of the gold nanocages (AuNCs) was tuned to the near-infrared region, and the ratio of the absorption cross-section to the extinction cross-section was approximately ~70%, as measured by PA sensing. We used PEGylated gold nanocages (PEG-AuNCs) as a passive targeting contrast agent on melanomas. After 6-h intravenous injection of PEG-AuNCs, PA amplitude was increased by ∼14 %. These results strongly suggest PA imaging paired with AuNCs is a promising diagnostic tool for early cancer detection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPhotons Plus Ultrasound
Subtitle of host publicationImaging and Sensing 2010
StatePublished - 2010
EventPhotons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2010 - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 24 2010Jan 26 2010

Publication series

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


OtherPhotons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • B16 melanoma
  • Gold nanoparticles
  • Molecular imaging
  • Photoacoustic tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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