Ratiometric MRI sensors consist of paramagnetic cores and pH-sensitive polymer shells. The core–shell nanostructure enables the coexistence of two incompatible NMR relaxation properties in one particle. The sensors show pH sensitivity in transverse relaxivity (r2), but not in longitudinal relaxivity (r1). Quantitative pH imaging is achieved by measuring the r2/r1 value with a clinical 3 T MRI scanner.
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