A Bismuth Metal-Organic Framework as a Contrast Agent for X-ray Computed Tomography

Lee Robison, Lin Zhang, Riki J. Drout, Peng Li, Chad R. Haney, Anlil Brikha, Hyunho Noh, B. Layla Mehdi, Nigel D. Browning, Vinayak P. Dravid, Qun Cui, Timur Islamoglu, Omar K. Farha*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


A new bismuth metal-organic framework (MOF), bismuth-NU-901 (Bi-NU-901), featuring the scu topology and a pore with a diameter of ∼11 Å, was solvothermally synthesized, and its use as an X-ray computed tomography (CT) contrast agent was tested. X-ray CT is a common diagnostic method used in the medical field. Inside the body, contrast media enhance the distinction between tissues and organs of similar density. Bi-NU-901 consists of eight connected Bi6 nodes and tetratopic 1,3,5,8-(p-benzoate)pyrene linkers (TBAPy). Numerous material characterization studies including powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD), scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), and DFT pore size distribution support the scu structure. Additionally, given the framework's high density of nontoxic heavy atoms, Bi-NU-901 was evaluated as an X-ray computed tomography (CT) agent. Importantly, in vitro studies revealed this new bismuth MOF demonstrates ∼7 times better contrast intensity compared to a zirconium MOF featuring the same topology and ∼14 times better contrast than a commercially available CT contrast agent. These results suggest bismuth MOFs may be promising CT contrast agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1197-1203
Number of pages7
JournalACS Applied Bio Materials
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 18 2019


  • X-ray computed tomography
  • bismuth
  • contrast agent
  • metal-organic frameworks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biochemistry, medical


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