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Published February 13, 2007 | Published
Book Section - Chapter Open

Iron-oxide nanoparticles as a contrast agent in thermoacoustic tomography


We investigate the feasibility of using iron oxide nanoparticles as a contrast agent for radiofrequency (RF) induced thermoacoustic tomography. Aqueous colloids of iron oxide (Fe3O4) nanoparticles have been synthesized and characterized. The synthesis method yielded citrate-stabilized, spherical particles with a diameter of approximately 10 nm. The complex permittivity of the colloids was measured with a coaxial probe and vector network analyzer, and the microwave absorption properties were calculated by using a relationship between the complex permittivity and absorption coefficients. Using our pulsed thermoacoustic imaging system at 3 GHz, the time-resolved thermoacoustic responses of those colloids were measured and compared to that of deionized water. Finally, two-dimensional thermoacoustic images were acquired from iron oxide colloids in a tissue phantom. The iron oxide colloids produced an enhancement in RF absorption of up to three times that of deionized water at 3 GHz. The enhancement increased rapidly with decreasing frequency of the RF excitation source. A corresponding increase in time-resolved thermoacoustic signal of more than two times was demonstrated. Our results indicate that iron oxide nanoparticles have the potential to produce enhanced thermoacoustic signals and to provide molecular imaging with functionalized contrast agents for thermoacoustic tomography.

Additional Information

© 2007 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). We would like to thank Shih-hsun Hsu, Rui Xu, and Dr. Kai Chang for their assistance with microwave measurement. This project was sponsored by National Institutes of Health grants R01 EB000712 and R01 NS46214.

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