Adolfo Speghini a, Irene Cantarelli a, Marco Pedroni a, Fabio Piccinelli a, Giamaica Conti b, Andrea Sbarbati b, Laura Marongiu c, Stefano Dusi c, Marta Donini c, Pasquina Marzola d, Federico Boschi d
a Dipartimento di Biotecnologie, Università di Verona and INSTM, UdR Verona, Strada Le Grazie 15, Verona, 37134, Italy
b Dipartimento di Scienze Neurologiche e del Movimento, Università di Verona, Strada le Grazie 8, 37134, Verona, Italy
c Dipartimento di Patologia e Diagnostica, Università di Verona, Strada le Grazie 8, 37134, Verona, Italy
d Dipartimento di Informatica, Università di Verona and INSTM, UdR Verona, Strada le Grazie 15, 37134, Verona, Italy
Invited Speaker, Adolfo Speghini, presentation 014
Publication date: 10th April 2014

Lanthanide doped fluorides are very interesting hosts for their efficient luminescence in the visible and infrared regions, making them interesting for their use in technological applications, such as in biomedical diagnostics. Specifically, Er3+/Yb3+ and Tm3+/Yb3+ doped MF2 (M=Ca, Sr) nanoparticles have received attention very recently, due to their strong upconversion emissions.

A facile hydrothermal one-step procedure was used to prepare citrate capped triply doped with Er3+, Gd3+ and Yb3+ or Tm3+, Gd3+ and Yb3+ ions. The present nanoparticles are easily dispersible in saline solutions,  essential property for their potential use in biological fluids. The obtained nanoparticles are cubic phase and are well size monodispersed, with average sizes that can be easily tuned by changing the preparation conditions.

The obtained transparent colloidal dispersione  show strong upconversion emission in the red (around 650 nm) and in the NIR (around 800 nm) for the Er3+ and Tm3+ doped nanoparticles, respectively, upon laser excitation at 980 nm in the 2F5/2 level of Yb3+ ion. Both the excitation and emitted radiation are close to or inside the biological window, suggesting the possibile use of the nanoparticles for in-vitro and in-vivo biological optical imaging. 

Results of spin-echo measurements on saline colloidal dispersions of the nanoparticles have also shown significant proton relaxivities, indicating that the present nanoparticles are interesting MRI contrast agents.

Considering also the high biocompatibility, the present nanoparticles are suitable candidates to be efficiently used as nanoprobes for both in-vitro and in-vivo multimodal optical and magnetic resonance imaging.

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