Nanoshells as an optical coherence tomography contrast agent

Jennifer Kehlet Barton, Naomi J. Halas, Jennifer L. West, Rebekah A. Drezek

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Nanoshells are a layered dielectric core/metal shell composite nanostructure with an optical resonance geometrically tunable through the visible and near infrared. Due to their small size, ability to generate a strong backscattering signal, and potential for surface modification, they may be an ideal in vivo optical coherence tomography contrast agent. We performed a pilot study to assess their capabilities. Images of a cuvette filled with dilute nanoshells, 2 μm polystyrene microspheres, or a combination were obtained. When compared to microspheres, images of the nanoshells where much brighter and attenuation of the bottom cuvette interface less. Injection of micropheres into the tail vein of mice and hamsters caused a noticeable brightening of OCT images of the dorsal skin. These pilot studies indicate that nanoshells may be an excellent OCT contrast agent; work is continuing to determine optimum nanoshell parameters and applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-106
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2004
EventProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Coherence Domain Optical Methods and Optical Coherence Tomography in Biomedicine VIII - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 26 2004Jan 28 2004


  • Image contrast
  • Mouse
  • Nanoparticles
  • Nanoshells
  • Optical coherence tomography
  • Skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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