Molecular Laser Imaging Agents

Our team has shown that molecular laser imaging agents can be increased in the amount of signal provided through the control of salt content when preparing the additives. Increasing molecular imaging agent strength of signal is critical to lowering the amount of imaging agent that must be used in applications such as biological imaging. This lowers the risks of reactions and poisoning due to the imaging agent. Laser imaging agents allow for real time, non-invasive imaging of many systems including human patents. Traditionally, as an example application, contrast agents are administered for use with magnetic imaging (MRI) techniques that are slow, require a large area for the instruments, and are cost inhibitive in many situations. By comparison, a laser imaging method would allow for near instantaneous image generation in real time, at a fraction of the cost (<5%) of traditional MRI approaches, and could result in portable system uses not restricted to permanent buildings. A critical issue currently with laser imaging agents is low signal strength and poor resolution. This NSF funded work in basic science has found that the signal strength can be enhanced dramatically by 5 times with simple salt additives to the molecule. This translates to 5 times less dye needing to be used for the same image quality.