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Simultaneous enhancement of red upconversion luminescence and CT contrast of NaGdF4:Yb,Er nanoparticles via Lu3+ doping

Abstract

To date, lanthanide-doped upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) have been widely reported as a promising CT contrast agent because they have large atomic numbers and big X-ray attenuation coefficient values. However, it is still a challenge to fabricate a simple multimodal imaging probe with improved image quality for early cancer diagnosis in clinical medicine. Herein, the ultra-small, uniform and monodisperse β-NaGdF4:Yb,Er,X%Lu (X = 0, 1, 2.5, 4, 6, 7.5) UCNPs were prepared through a solvothermal method for simultaneously controlling the same phase and morphology. Meanwhile, the remarkably enhanced red upconversion luminescence (UCL) in the β-NaGdF4:Yb,Er,X%Lu NPs was successfully realized via Lu3+ doping. It is found that as the content of Lu3+ increases from 0 to 7.5 mol%, the UCL intensity of red emission first increases and then decreases, with the optimum doping content of Lu3+ ions at 2.5 mol%. The red UCL enhancement is ascribed to the change of the Yb-Er interionic distance controlling the Yb-Er energy transfer rate and the distortion of the local environment of Er3+ ion conducting the 4f-4f transition rates of Er3+ ion, which have been further confirmed by the experimental check of the crystallagrapic phase and the photoluminescence spectroscopy by employing Eu3+ as the structural probe, respectively. More importantly, after being modified with HS-PEG2000-NH2 ligand, the NH2-PEGylated-NaGdF4:Yb,Er,X%Lu NPs exhibited low cytotoxicity, high biocompatibility, and remarkably enhanced contrast performance in vitro UCL and in vivo CT imaging. On the basis of our findings, the as-obtained functionalized UCNPs could be considered as a promising versatile dual-mode imaging probe for bioimaging, tumor diagnosis, and cancer therapy.

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Publication details

The article was received on 28 Aug 2018, accepted on 02 Oct 2018 and first published on 03 Oct 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8NR06968A
Citation: Nanoscale, 2018, Accepted Manuscript
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    Simultaneous enhancement of red upconversion luminescence and CT contrast of NaGdF4:Yb,Er nanoparticles via Lu3+ doping

    M. Liu, Z. Shi, X. Wang, Y. Zhang, X. Mo, R. Jiang, Z. Liu, L. Fan, C. Ma and F. Shi, Nanoscale, 2018, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C8NR06968A

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