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Molecular imaging is very promising technique used for surgical guidance, which requires advancements related to properties of imaging agents and subsequent data retrieval methods from measured multispectral images. In this article, an upconversion material is introduced for subsurface near-infrared imaging and for the depth recovery of the material embedded below the biological tissue. The results confirm significant correlation between the analytical depth estimate of the material under the tissue and the measured ratio of emitted light from the material at two different wavelengths. Experiments with biological tissue samples demonstrate depth resolved imaging using the rare earth doped multifunctional phosphors. In vitro tests reveal no significant toxicity, whereas the magnetic measurements of the phosphors show that the particles are suitable as magnetic resonance imaging agents. The confocal imaging of fibroblast cells with these phosphors reveals their potential for in vivo imaging. The depth-resolved imaging technique with such phosphors has broad implications for real-time intraoperative surgical guidance.

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ACS applied materials & interfaces





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