Theranostics 2020; 10(6):2631-2644. doi:10.7150/thno.40808


Near-IR emissive rare-earth nanoparticles for guided surgery

Zhibei Qu1,2, Jianlei Shen2, Qian Li2, Feng Xu1, Fei Wang1,2, Xueli Zhang1✉, Chunhai Fan2✉

1. Joint Research Center for Precision Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University & Affiliated Sixth People's Hospital South Campus, Southern Medical University Affiliated Fengxian Hospital, Shanghai 201499, China.
2. School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, and Institute of Molecular Medicine, Renji Hospital, School of Medicine, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China.

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Qu Z, Shen J, Li Q, Xu F, Wang F, Zhang X, Fan C. Near-IR emissive rare-earth nanoparticles for guided surgery. Theranostics 2020; 10(6):2631-2644. doi:10.7150/thno.40808. Available from

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Intraoperative image-guided surgery (IGS) has attracted extensive research interests in determination of tumor margins from surrounding normal tissues. Introduction of near infrared (NIR) fluorophores into IGS could significantly improve the in vivo imaging quality thus benefit IGS. Among the reported NIR fluorophores, rare-earth nanoparticles exhibit unparalleled advantages in disease theranostics by taking advantages such as large Stokes shift, sharp emission spectra, and high chemical/photochemical stability. The recent advances in elements doping and morphologies controlling endow the rare-earth nanoparticles with intriguing optical properties, including emission span to NIR-II region and long life-time photoluminescence. Particularly, NIR emissive rare earth nanoparticles hold advantages in reduction of light scattering, photon absorption and autofluorescence, largely improve the performance of nanoparticles in biological and pre-clinical applications. In this review, we systematically compared the benefits of RE nanoparticles with other NIR probes, and summarized the recent advances of NIR emissive RE nanoparticles in bioimaging, photodynamic therapy, drug delivery and NIR fluorescent IGS. The future challenges and promises of NIR emissive RE nanoparticles for IGS were also discussed.

Keywords: near infrared fluorescence, rare earth nanoparticle, bioimaging, image guided surgery