Dynamic magnetic characterization and magnetic particle imaging enhancement of magnetic-gold core–shell nanoparticles
Multifunctional nanoparticles with a magnetic core and gold shell structures are emerging multi-modal imaging probes for disease diagnosis, image-guided therapy, and theranostic applications. Owing to their multi-functional magnetic and plasmonic properties, these nanoparticles can be used as contrast agents in multiple complementary imaging modalities. Magnetic particle imaging (MPI) is a new pre-clinical imaging system that enables real-time imaging with high sensitivity and spatial resolution by detecting the dynamic responses of nanoparticle tracers. In this study, we evaluated the dynamic magnetic properties and MPI imaging performances of core–shell nanoparticles with a magnetic core coated with a gold shell. A change in AC hysteresis loops was detected before and after the formation of the gold shell on magnetic core nanoparticles, suggesting the influence of the core–shell interfacial effect on their dynamic magnetic properties. This alteration in the dynamic responses resulted in an enhancement of the MPI imaging capacity of magnetic nanoparticles. The gold shell coating also enabled a simple and effective functionalization of the nanoparticles with a brain glioma targeting ligand. The enhanced MPI imaging capacity and effective functionality suggest the potential application of the magnetic-gold core–shell nanoparticles for MPI disease diagnostics.