Radioluminescent gold nanocages with controlled radioactivity for real-time in vivo imaging

Yucai Wang, Yongjian Liu, Hannah Luehmann, Xiaohu Xia, Dehui Wan, Cathy Cutler, Younan Xia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Cerenkov luminescence imaging based on light emission from the decay of radionuclides has recently drawn great interest in molecular imaging. In this paper, we report for the first time the Cerenkov luminescence phenomenon of 198Au isotope, as well as a facile route to the preparation of radioluminescent Au nanocages without additional radiolabeling or dye conjugation. The specific radioactivity of the Au nanocages could be easily and precisely controlled by varying the concentration of H198AuCl 4 precursor used for the galvanic replacement reaction. The direct incorporation of 198Au atoms into the structure of Au nanocages enabled the ability of accurate analysis and real-time imaging in vivo. Furthermore, under biological conditions the radioactive Au nanocages were shown to emit light with wavelengths in the visible and near-infrared regions, enabling luminescence imaging of the whole mice in vivo, as well as the organs ex vivo. When combined with their favorable scattering and absorption properties in the near-infrared region, the radioactive Au nanocages can serve as a new platform for multimodality imaging and will have a significant impact on both small animal and clinical imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-585
Number of pages5
JournalNano Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 13 2013


  • Cerenkov luminescence imaging
  • Gold nanocages
  • cancer imaging
  • radioactive


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