Silicon nanoparticles as hyperpolarized magnetic resonance imaging agents

Jacob W. Aptekar, Maja C. Cassidy, Alexander C. Johnson, Robert A. Barton, Menyoung Lee, Alexander C. Ogier, Chinh Vo, Melis N. Anahtar, Yin Ren, Sangeeta N. Bhatia, Chandrasekhar Ramanathan, David G. Cory, Alison L. Hill, Ross W. Mair, Matthew S. Rosen, Ronald L. Walsworth, Charles M. Marcus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4003-4008
Number of pages6
JournalACS Nano
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 22 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Contrast agent
  • Functionalized nanoparticle
  • Hyperpolarized
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Molecular imaging
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance
  • Nuclear spin relaxation
  • Silicon nanoparticle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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