Development of dispersible radioluminescent silicate nanoparticles through a sacrificial layer approach

J Colloid Interface Sci. 2021 Jan 15;582(Pt B):1128-1135. doi: 10.1016/j.jcis.2020.07.125. Epub 2020 Aug 10.


X-rays offer low tissue attenuation with high penetration depth when used in medical applications and when coupled with radioluminescent nanoparticles, offer novel theranostic opportunities. In this role, the ideal scintillator requires a high degree of crystallinity for an application relevant radioluminescence, yet a key challenge is the irreversible aggregation of the particles at most crystallization temperatures. In this communication, a high temperature multi-composite reactor (HTMcR) process was successfully developed to recrystallize monodisperse scintillating particulates by employing a core-multishell architecture. The core-shell morphology of the particles consisted of a silica core over-coated with a rare earth (Re = Y3+, Lu3+, Ce3+) oxide shell. This core-shell assembly was then encapsulated within a poly(divinylbenzene) shell which was converted to glassy carbon during the annealing & crystallization of the silica/rare earth oxide core-shell particle. This glassy carbon acted as a delamination layer and prevented the irreversible aggregation of the particles during the high temperature crystallization step. A subsequent low temperature annealing step in an air environment removed the glassy carbon and resulted in radioluminescent nanoparticles. Two monodisperse nanoparticle systems were synthesized using the HTMcR process including cerium doped Y2Si2O7 and Lu2Si2O7 with radioluminescence peaks at 427 and 399 nm, respectively. These particles may be employed as an in vivo light source for a noninvasive X-ray excited optogenetics.

Keywords: Core-shell; LPS:Ce; Radioluminescence; YPS:Ce.