Biodegradable rare earth fluorochloride nanocrystals for phototheranostics

Xinyu Zhao, Qi Yu, Jun Yuan, Nitish V. Thakor, Mei Chee Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Rare earth (RE) doped inorganic nanocrystals have been demonstrated as efficient contrast agents for deep tissue shortwave-infrared (SWIR) imaging with high sensitivities leading to potential early detection of tumors. However, a potential concern is the unknown long-term toxicity and incompatibility of inorganic nanocrystals. In this work, biodegradable rare earth nanocrystals of Nd doped SrFCl coated with polydopamine (SrFCl:Nd@PDA) were designed. Instead of traditional fluoride hosts, the chlorinated SrF2 (i.e. SrFCl) with low phonon energy which significantly improved the brightness of SrFCl:Nd in the SWIR region was used as the host. After coating with a NIR-absorptive PDA layer, the SrFCl:Nd nanoparticles serve as not only a contrast agent for photoacoustic imaging, but also a potential photothermal agent for cancer therapy. Moreover, these SrFCl:Nd@PDA nanoparticles can be rapidly and completely degraded in phosphate buffer solution within 1 h, which effectively addresses the concerns of the deleterious effects arising from potential long term accumulation. The increased accumulation and retention at tumor sites, and complete in vivo clearance ∼6 h after injection make these SrFCl:Nd@PDA nanoparticles a promising degradable phototheranostic agent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15387-15393
Number of pages7
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number26
StatePublished - Apr 20 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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