A major obstacle in luminescence imaging is the limited penetration of visible light into tissues and interference associated with light scattering and autofluorescence. Near-infrared (NIR) emitters that can also be excited with NIR radiation via two-photon processes can mitigate these factors somewhat because they operate at wavelengths of 650-1000 nm where tissues are more transparent, light scattering is less efficient, and endogenous fluorophores are less likely to absorb. This study presents photolytically stable, NIR photoluminescent, porous silicon nanoparticles with a relatively high two-photon-absorption cross-section and a large emission quantum yield. Their ability to be targeted to tumor tissues in vivo using the iRGD targeting peptide is demonstrated, and the distribution of the nanoparticles with high spatial resolution is visualized.
Keywords : cancer diagnostics; iRGD targeting peptide; nanomedicine; photoluminescence