Chapter 4: Iron-oxide Nanoparticle-based Contrast Agents
New Developments in NMR
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This chapter discusses the synthesis, functionalization, characterization, and imaging applications of iron-oxide-nanoparticle-based contrast agents. By reducing the size from bulk to the nanometer scale (<20 nm), ferrimagnetic iron oxide acquires a magnetic property called superparamagnetism, which is key to the potential of these particles as MRI contrast agents. This chapter describes the theory governing the relaxivity of nanoparticle-based contrast agents. The different syntheses, coatings, and functionalization approaches are then discussed, including how these syntheses affect the properties of the nanomaterial. Different techniques for the characterization of the cores and coatings of nanoparticles, including their size and composition, are then discussed. Particular attention is given to characterization of the magnetic properties of iron oxide nanoparticles. Finally, the acquisition of MRI phantoms is presented.