Oxygen Sensing with Perfluorocarbon-Loaded Ultraporous Mesostructured Silica Nanoparticles

Amani L. Lee, Clifford T. Gee, Bradley P. Weegman, Samuel A. Einstein, Adam R. Juelfs, Hattie L. Ring, Katie R. Hurley, Sam M. Egger, Garrett Swindlehurst, Michael Garwood, William C.K. Pomerantz, Christy L. Haynes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Oxygen homeostasis is important in the regulation of biological function. Disease progression can be monitored by measuring oxygen levels, thus producing information for the design of therapeutic treatments. Noninvasive measurements of tissue oxygenation require the development of tools with minimal adverse effects and facile detection of features of interest. Fluorine magnetic resonance imaging (19F MRI) exploits the intrinsic properties of perfluorocarbon (PFC) liquids for anatomical imaging, cell tracking, and oxygen sensing. However, the highly hydrophobic and lipophobic properties of perfluorocarbons require the formation of emulsions for biological studies, though stabilizing these emulsions has been challenging. To enhance the stability and biological loading of perfluorocarbons, one option is to incorporate perfluorocarbon liquids into the internal space of biocompatible mesoporous silica nanoparticles. Here, we developed perfluorocarbon-loaded ultraporous mesostructured silica nanoparticles (PERFUMNs) as 19F MRI detectable oxygen-sensing probes. Ultraporous mesostructured silica nanoparticles (UMNs) have large internal cavities (average = 1.8 cm3 g-1), facilitating an average 17% loading efficiency of PFCs, meeting the threshold fluorine concentrations needed for imaging studies. Perfluoro-15-crown-5-ether PERFUMNs have the highest equivalent nuclei per PFC molecule and a spin-lattice (T1) relaxation-based oxygen sensitivity of 0.0032 mmHg-1 s-1 at 16.4 T. The option of loading PFCs after synthesizing UMNs, rather than traditional in situ core-shell syntheses, allows for use of a broad range of PFC liquids from a single material. The biocompatible and tunable chemistry of UMNs combined with the intrinsic properties of PFCs makes PERFUMNs a MRI sensor with potential for anatomical imaging, cell tracking, and metabolic spectroscopy with improved stability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5623-5632
Number of pages10
JournalACS nano
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 27 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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