Gold nanocages entering into the realm of high-contrast photoacoustic ocular imaging
Bioinert gold nanoparticles of various shapes and functionalities are widely accepted as contrast agents (CAs) for several modalities of imaging, viz., electron microscopy, computerized tomography (CT), X-ray and photoacoustic (PA) imaging. However, testing of novel compact-imaging probes for ocular diagnostic imaging is always challenging. Here, ultra-fast microwave oven synthesized gold nanocages (AuNcgs) were successfully demonstrated for high-contrast PA ocular imaging for the first time. Methods are described for the synthesis, characterization and application of quickly synthesized AuNcgs in diagnostic ocular imaging. PA and ultrasound (US) images were acquired using a commercial US imaging scanner integrated with a tunable nanosecond pulsed laser. This integrated hybrid-modality system is a combined PA and US platform for imaging which enabled acquiring of complementary structural and optical absorption-based information simultaneously. Initial experiments were conducted using tubings filled with solutions of different concentrations of quickly synthesized AuNcgs. Biological PA and US imagings were demonstrated using enucleated porcine eye samples. Based on the acquired results, it is envisaged that AuNcgs can be employed as a high strength PA CA to potentially diagnose ocular disease like uveal melanoma in the near future.