Abstract

Contrast agents are utilized in virtually every imaging modality to enhance diagnostic capabilities. We introduce a novel class of optical contrast agent, namely, encapsulating microspheres, that are based not on fluorescence but on scattering nanoparticles within the shell or core. The agents are suitable for reflection- or scattering-based techniques such as optical coherence tomography, light microscopy, and reflectance confocal microscopy. We characterize the optical properties of gold-, melanin-, and carbon-shelled contrast agents and demonstrate enhancement of optical coherence tomography imaging after intravenous injection of such an agent into a mouse.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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