• X-ray;
  • computed tomography;
  • contrast agent;
  • inorganic nanoparticles;
  • targeting;
  • gold


Nanomaterials have gained considerable attention and interest in the development of new and efficient molecular probes for medical diagnosis and imaging. Heavy metal nanoparticles as such are excellent absorber of X-rays and can offer excellent improvement in medical diagnosis and X-ray imaging. Substantial progress has been made in the synthesis protocol and characterization studies of these materials but a major challenge still lies in the toxicological studies, which are rather incomplete. The worst known cases were those associated with Thorotrast (suspension of ThO2 nanoparticles) which resulted in many deaths over years. Properly protected nanomaterials conjugated or coated with biocompatible materials can be used for the fabrication of various functional systems with multimodality, targeting properties, reduced toxicity and proper removal from the body. This review aims mainly to provide the advances in the development of inorganic nanoparticle based X-ray contrasting agents with an overview of methods of their preparation, functionalization and applications in medical diagnosis.