Zinc oxide nanoparticles as contrast-enhancing agents for microwave imaging

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Purpose: Microwave imaging/sensing is an emerging technology that shows potential for healthcare diagnostic applications, particularly in breast cancer detection. This technique estimates the anatomically variant dielectric properties of the breast. Similar to other imaging modalities, nanoparticles (NPs) could potentially be utilized as contrast agents to increase contrast between healthy and malignant tissues. Methods: In this study, aqueous suspensions of NPs such as surface-modified single-walled carbon nanotubes, zinc oxide, and silicon dioxide are studied to assess their potential effective contrast for microwave imaging. Morphology characterization of the NPs has been achieved using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The size and stability of colloidal dispersions have been characterized by dynamic light scattering technique (DLS) and Ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometry (UV-Vis). The dielectric characterization of the aqueous-based colloidal suspensions is recorded over the microwave frequency range between 1 and 4 GHz. Results: Zinc oxide NP dispersion has shown an increase in the dielectric constant compared to the background medium. Furthermore, PEGylation of ZnO NPs can achieve a valid increase in the dielectric constant compared to water, which was shown to be concentration dependent. Conclusion: These results suggest that ZnO nanomaterials have the potential to be used in biomedical applications such as breast imaging to improve diagnostic capabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3820-3830
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number8
Early online date25 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


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