Shortwave Infrared Imaging with J-Aggregates Stabilized in Hollow Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles

J Am Chem Soc. 2019 Aug 14;141(32):12475-12480. doi: 10.1021/jacs.9b05195. Epub 2019 Aug 2.


Tissue is translucent to shortwave infrared (SWIR) light, rendering optical imaging superior in this region. However, the widespread use of optical SWIR imaging has been limited, in part, by the lack of bright, biocompatible contrast agents that absorb and emit light above 1000 nm. J-Aggregation offers a means to transform stable, near-infrared (NIR) fluorophores into red-shifted SWIR contrast agents. Here we demonstrate that J-aggregates of NIR fluorophore IR-140 can be prepared inside hollow mesoporous silica nanoparticles (HMSNs) to result in nanomaterials that absorb and emit SWIR light. The J-aggregates inside PEGylated HMSNs are stable for multiple weeks in buffer and enable high resolution imaging in vivo with 980 nm excitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzothiazoles / chemistry*
  • Benzothiazoles / radiation effects
  • Benzothiazoles / toxicity
  • Contrast Media / chemistry*
  • Contrast Media / radiation effects
  • Contrast Media / toxicity
  • Drug Stability
  • Infrared Rays
  • Mice, Nude
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Nanoparticles / toxicity
  • Optical Imaging / methods
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry
  • Polyethylene Glycols / toxicity
  • Silicon Dioxide / chemistry*
  • Silicon Dioxide / toxicity


  • Benzothiazoles
  • Contrast Media
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Silicon Dioxide