Multimodal, biocompatible contrast agents for high magnetic field applications represent a new class of nanomaterials with significant potential for tracking of fluorescence and MR in vitro and vivo. Optimized for high-field MR applications—including biomedical imaging at 21.1 T, the highest magnetic field available for MRI—these nanoparticles capitalize on the improved performance of chelated Dy3+ with increasing magnetic field coupled to a noncytotoxic Indium Phosphide/Zinc Sulfide (InP/ZnS) quantum dot that provides fluorescence detection, MR responsiveness, and payload delivery. By surface modifying the quantum dot with a cell-penetrating peptide sequence coupled to an MR contrast agent, the bimodal nanomaterial functions as a self-transfecting high-field MR/optical contrast agent for nonspecific intracellular labeling. Fluorescent images confirm sequestration in perinuclear vesicles of labeled cells, with no apparent cytotoxicity. These techniques can be extended to impart cell selectivity or act as a delivery vehicle for genetic or pharmaceutical interventions. Magn Reson Med, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.