Quantitative evaluation of optical coherence tomography signal enhancement with gold nanoshells

Anant Agrawal, Stanley Huang, Alex Wei Haw Lin, Min Ho Lee, Jennifer K. Barton, Rebekah A. Drezek, T. Joshua Pfefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Nanoshell-enhanced optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a novel technique with the potential for molecular imaging and improved disease detection. However, optimization of this approach will require a quantitative understanding of the influence of nanoshell parameters on detected OCT signals. In this study, OCT was performed at 1310 nm in water and turbid tissue-simulating phantoms to which nanoshells were added. The effect of nanoshell concentration, core diameter, and shell thickness on signal enhancement was characterized. Experimental results indicated trends that were consistent with predicted optical properties-a monotonic increase in signal intensity and attenuation with increasing shell and core size. Threshold concentrations for a 2-dB OCT signal intensity gain were determined for several nanoshell geometries. For the most highly backscattering nanoshells tested-291-nm core diameter, 25-nm shell thickness-a concentration of 109 nanoshells/mL was needed to produce this signal increase. Based on these results, we discuss various practical considerations for optimizing nanoshell-enhanced OCT. Quantitative experimental data presented here will facilitate optimization of OCT-based diagnostics and may also be relevant to other reflectance-based approaches as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number041121
JournalJournal of biomedical optics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Image enhancement
  • Imaging coherence
  • Optical properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


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