Upconverting nanoparticles: a versatile platform for wide-field two-photon microscopy and multi-modal in vivo imaging
Lanthanide-doped upconverting nanoparticles (UCNPs) have recently attracted enormous attention in the field of biological imaging owing to their unique optical properties: (1) efficient upconversion photoluminescence, which is intense enough to be detected at the single-particle level with a (nonscanning) wide-field microscope setup equipped with a continuous wave (CW) near-infrared (NIR) laser (980 nm), and (2) resistance to photoblinking and photobleaching. Moreover, the use of NIR excitation minimizes adverse photoinduced effects such as cellular photodamage and the autofluorescence background. Finally, the cytotoxicity of UCNPs is much lower than that of other nanoparticle systems. All these advantages can be exploited simultaneously without any conflicts, which enables the establishment of a novel UCNP-based platform for wide-field two-photon microscopy. UCNPs are also useful for multimodal in vivo imaging because simple variations in the composition of the lattice atoms and dopant ions integrated into the particles can be easily implemented, yielding various distinct biomedical activities relevant to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and positron emission tomography (PET). These multiple functions embedded in a single type of UCNPs play a crucial role in precise disease diagnosis. The application of UCNPs is extended to therapeutic fields such as photodynamic and photothermal cancer therapies through advanced surface conjugation schemes.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Photon Upconversion Nanomaterials