Upconverting NIR photons for bioimaging

Zhanjun Li, Yuanwei Zhang, Hieu La, Richard Zhu, Ghida El-Banna, Yuzou Wei, Gang Han

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Lanthanide-doped upconverting nanoparticles (UCNPs) possess unique anti-Stokes optical properties, in which low energy near-infrared (NIR) photons can be converted into high energy UV, visible, shorter NIR emission via multiphoton upconversion processes. Due to the rapid development of synthesis chemistry, lanthanide-doped UCNPs can be fabricated with narrow distribution and tunable multi-color optical properties. These unique attributes grant them unique NIR-driven imaging/drug delivery/therapeutic applications, especially in the cases of deep tissue environments. In this brief review, we introduce both the basic concepts of and recent progress with UCNPs in material engineering and theranostic applications in imaging, molecular delivery, and tumor therapeutics. The aim of this brief review is to address the most typical progress in basic mechanism, material design as bioimaging tools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2148-2168
Number of pages21
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 4 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


  • Optical imaging
  • Optical therapy
  • Upconversion nanoparticles


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