Multimodal contrast agents based on highly luminescent quantum dots (QDs) combined with magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) or ions form an exciting class of new materials for bioimaging. With two functionalities integrated in a single nanoparticle, a sensitive contrast agent for two very powerful and highly complementary imaging techniques [fluorescence imaging and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)] is obtained. In this review, the state of the art in this rapidly developing field is given. This is done by describing the developments for four different approaches to integrate the fluorescence and magnetic properties in a single nanoparticle. The first type of particles is created by the growth of heterostructures in which a QD is either overgrown with a layer of a magnetic material or linked to a (superpara, or ferro) MNP. The second approach involves doping of paramagnetic ions into QDs. A third option is to use silica or polymer nanoparticles as a matrix for the incorporation of both QDs and MNPs. Finally, it is possible to introduce chelating molecules with paramagnetic ions (e.g., Gd-DTPA) into the coordination shell of the QDs. All different approaches have resulted in recent breakthroughs and the demonstration of the capability of bioimaging using both functionalities. In addition to giving an overview of the most exciting recent developments, the pros and cons of the four different classes of bimodal contrast agents are discussed, ending with an outlook on the future of this emerging new field Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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