Silicon nanoparticles as hyperpolarized magnetic resonance imaging agents.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


ACS Nano, Volume 3, Issue 12, p.4003-8 (2009)


Contrast Media, Crystallization, Image Enhancement, Macromolecular Substances, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Materials Testing, Molecular Conformation, Nanomedicine, Nanostructures, Particle Size, Silicon, Surface Properties, Titanium


Magnetic resonance imaging of hyperpolarized nuclei provides high image contrast with little or no background signal. To date, in vivo applications of prehyperpolarized materials have been limited by relatively short nuclear spin relaxation times. Here, we investigate silicon nanoparticles as a new type of hyperpolarized magnetic resonance imaging agent. Nuclear spin relaxation times for a variety of Si nanoparticles are found to be remarkably long, ranging from many minutes to hours at room temperature, allowing hyperpolarized nanoparticles to be transported, administered, and imaged on practical time scales. Additionally, we demonstrate that Si nanoparticles can be surface functionalized using techniques common to other biologically targeted nanoparticle systems. These results suggest that Si nanoparticles can be used as a targetable, hyperpolarized magnetic resonance imaging agent with a large range of potential applications.