Although most nanofabrication techniques can control nano/micro particle (NMP) size over a wide range, the majority of NMPs for biomedical applications exhibits a diameter of ~100 nm. Here, the vascular distribution of spherical particles, from 10 to 1,000 nm in diameter, is studied using intravital microscopy and computational modeling. Small NMPs (≤100 nm) are observed to move with Red Blood Cells (RBCs), presenting an uniform radial distribution and limited near-wall accumulation. Larger NMPs tend to preferentially accumulate next to the vessel walls, in a size-dependent manner (~70% for 1,000 nm NMPs). RBC-NMP geometrical interference only is responsible for this behavior. In a capillary flow, the effective radial dispersion coefficient of 1,000 nm particles is ~3-fold larger than Brownian diffusion. This suggests that sub-micron particles could deposit within diseased vascular districts more efficiently than conventional nanoparticles.
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