High resolution fluorescence bio-imaging upconversion nanoparticles in insects. Academic Article uri icon


  • Imaging fluorescent markers with brightness, photostability, and continuous emission with auto fluorescence background suppression in biological samples has always been challenging due to limitations of available and economical techniques. Here we report a new approach, to achieve high contrast imaging inside small and difficult biological systems with special geometry such as fire ants, an important agricultural pest, using a homemade cost-effective optical system. Unlike the commonly used rare-earth doped fluoride nanoparticles, we utilized nanoparticles with a high upconversion efficiency in water. Specifically Y2O3:Er+3,Yb+3 nanoparticles (40-50 nm diameter) were fed to fire ants as food and then a simple illuminating experiment was conducted at 980 nm wavelength at relatively low pump intensity8kW.cm-2. The locations were further confirmed by X-ray tomography, where most particles aggregated inside the ant's mouth. High resolution, fast, and economical optical imaging system opens the door for studying more complex biological systems.

published proceedings

  • Opt Express

author list (cited authors)

  • Alkahtani, M., Chen, Y., Pedraza, J. J., Gonzlez, J. M., Parkinson, D. Y., Hemmer, P. R., & Liang, H.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • Alkahtani, Masfer||Chen, Yunyun||Pedraza, Julie J||Gonz├ílez, Jorge M||Parkinson, Dilworth Y||Hemmer, Philip R||Liang, Hong

publication date

  • January 2017