Size-tunable synthesis of lanthanide-doped Gd 2O 3 nanoparticles and their applications for optical and magnetic resonance imaging

Liangjun Zhou, Zhanjun Gu, Xiaoxiao Liu, Wenyan Yin, Gan Tian, Liang Yan, Shan Jin, Wenlu Ren, Gengmei Xing, Wei Li, Xueling Chang, Zhongbo Hu, Yuliang Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


Lanthanide (Ln 3+) doped Gd 2O 3 nanoparticles (NPs) have been prepared via a thermal treatment of gadolinium carbonate precursor, which was obtained by simple hydrothermal treatment of Gd(NO 3) 3 solution in the presence of urea and glycerol. The size of the nanoparticles could be fine tuned from 270 to 10 nm by varying the amount of glycerol, which acted as a chelating agent to control the size of the nanoparticles. Calcination of the gadolinium carbonate nanoparticles at 500 °C led to the formation of uniform Gd 2O 3 nanoparticles without any obvious morphology change. By doping the lanthanide ions (Yb, Er/Tm) into the Gd 2O 3 host matrix, these nanoparticles emitted strong upconversion (UC) fluorescence under 980 nm near infrared (NIR) excitation. Moreover, their emission colors could be tuned by simply changing either the co-dopant concentration or the dopant species. Water dispersibility was achieved by forming a silica layer on the surface of the Gd 2O 3 nanoparticles. The possibility of using these silica-coated upconversion nanoparticles for optical imaging in vitro/in vivo has been demonstrated. It was also shown that these Gd 2O 3 nanoparticles brightened the T 1-weighted images and enhanced r 1 relaxivity of water protons, which suggested they act as T 1 contrast agents for magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Thus, Gd 2O 3 nanoparticles doped with Ln 3+ ions provide the dual modality of optical and magnetic resonance imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)966-974
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 21 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Chemistry


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