Imaging depths of near-infrared quantum dots in first and second optical windows

Mol Imaging. Jul-Aug 2012;11(4):338-52.


Potential advantages of quantum dot (QD) imaging in the second optical window (SOW) at 1,000 to 1,400 nm over the first optical window (FOW) at 700 to 900 nm have attracted much interest. QDs that emit at 800 nm (800QDs) and QDs that emit at 1,300 nm (1,300QDs) are used to investigate the imaging depths at the FOW and SOW. QD images in biologic tissues are processed binarized via global thresholding method, and the imaging depths are determined using the criteria of contrast to noise ratio and relative apparent size. Owing to the reduced scattering in the SOW, imaging depth in skin can be extended by approximately three times for 1,300QD/SOW over 800QD/FOW. In liver, excitation of 1,300QD/SOW can be shifted to longer wavelengths; thus, the imaging depth can be extended by 1.4 times. Effects of quantum yield (QY), concentration, incidence angle, polarization, and fluence rate F on imaging depth are comprehensively studied. Under F approved by the Food and Drug Administration, 1,300QDs with 50% QY can reach imaging depths of 29.7 mm in liver and 17.5 mm in skin. A time-gated excitation using 1,000 times higher F pulses can obtain the imaging depth of ≈ 5 cm. To validate our estimates, in vivo whole-body imaging experiments are performed using small-animal models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Optical Phenomena*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Particle Size
  • Quantum Dots*
  • Signal-To-Noise Ratio
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared / methods*