Multilayer resonant light scattering nanoshells as a novel class of nonbleaching labels for multi-marker molecular imaging

Yang Liu*, Kun Chen, Young L. Kim, Guillermo Antonio Ameer, Vadim Backman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Optical molecular imaging of living tissues could potentially allow tissue characterization and disease diagnosis with high resolution, non-invasively and at a low cost. The capability to image multiple molecular targets simultaneously is particularly important. However, currently this task cannot be achieved, due to the broad spectral responses (∼80-200 nm) of current optical contrast agents, which limit the number of markers that can be used simultaneously to, typically, not more than three. Therefore, ideal nanoparticle-labels for multi-color multi-marker detection should exhibit sharp resonances, whose spectral position can be controlled. We hereby describe a new concept that utilizes resonant light-scattering spectroscopy of multi-layered metallic nanospheres to achieve the labeling of multiple targets simultaneously. Our model of light-scattering predicts that multilayered metallic-dielectric nanoshells exhibit tunable ultra-sharp resonance peaks with widths as narrow as 10 nm. By varying the materials and size ratios between different layers, the position of the resonance peaks can be easily controlled, which may enable detection of more than 10 different labels simultaneously by recording the spectra of resonant light scattering in the visible range. Conjugated with molecular probes, such as antibodies, these novel structured nanospheres may enable previously unattainable multi-label optical molecular imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number22
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
JournalProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
Issue number15
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004
EventOptical Biopsy V - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 27 2004Jan 28 2004


  • Contrast agent
  • Molecular imaging
  • Multi-layer nanoshell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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