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Designing Tripodal and Triangular Gadolinium Oxide Nanoplates and Self-Assembled Nanofibrils as Potential Multimodal Bioimaging Probes

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journal contribution
posted on 26.03.2013, 00:00 by Taejong Paik, Thomas R. Gordon, Andrew M. Prantner, Hongseok Yun, Christopher B. Murray
Here, we report the shape-controlled synthesis of tripodal and triangular gadolinium oxide (Gd2O3) nanoplates. In the presence of lithium ions, the shape of the nanocrystals is readily controlled by tailoring reaction parameters such as temperature and time. We observe that the morphology transforms from an initial tripodal shape to a triangular shape with increasing reaction time or elevated temperatures. Highly uniform Gd2O3 nanoplates are self-assembled into nanofibril-like liquid-crystalline superlattices with long-range orientational and positional order. In addition, shape-directed self-assemblies are investigated by tailoring the aspect ratio of the arms of the Gd2O3 nanoplates. Due to a strong paramagnetic response, Gd2O3 nanocrystals are excellent candidates for MRI contrast agents and also can be doped with rare-earth ions to form nanophosphors, pointing to their potential in multimodal imaging. In this work, we investigate the MR relaxometry at high magnetic fields (9.4 and 14.1 T) and the optical properties including near-IR to visible upconversion luminescence and X-ray excited optical luminescence of doped Gd2O3 nanoplates. The complex shape of Gd2O3 nanoplates, coupled with their magnetic properties and their ability to phosphoresce under NIR or X-ray excitation which penetrate deep into tissue, makes these nanoplates a promising platform for multimodal imaging in biomedical applications.