Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date



The application of nanomaterials made of rare earth elements within biomedical sciences continues to make significant progress. The rare earth elements, also called the lanthanides, play an essential role in modern life through materials and electronics. As we learn more about their utility, function, and underlying physics, we can contemplate extending their applications to biomedicine. This particularly applies to diagnosis and radiation therapy due to their relatively unique features, such as an ultra-wide Stokes shift in the luminescence, variable magnetism and potentially tunable properties, due to the library of lanthanides available and their multivalent oxidation state chemistry. The ability to prepare nanomaterials of relatively smaller sizes has increased the likelihood of use in vivo. In this review, we summarize the different emerging applications of nanoparticles with rare earth elements as the host or doped elements for biomedical applications in the past three to four years, especially in the area of imaging and disease diagnosis. Researchers have made progress in utilizing surfactants and polymers to modify the surface of lanthanide nanoparticles to enhance biocompatibility. At the same time, specific antibodies and proteins can also be conjugated to these nanoparticles to increase targeting efficiency for specific tumor models. Finally, in the near-infrared II imaging window, lanthanide nanoparticles have been shown to exhibit extraordinary bright emission, which is an exciting development for image-guided surgery.


This work was originally published in Nanotheranostics, available at

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.