Rapid microwave-assisted synthesis of dextran-coated iron oxide nanoparticles for magnetic resonance imaging

Elizabeth A. Osborne, Tonya M. Atkins, Dustin A. Gilbert, Susan M. Kauzlarich, Kai Liu, Angelique Y. Louie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Currently, magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles are the only nanosized magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents approved for clinical use, yet commercial manufacturing of these agents has been limited or discontinued. Though there is still widespread demand for these particles both for clinical use and research, they are difficult to obtain commercially, and complicated syntheses make in-house preparation unfeasible for most biological research labs or clinics. To make commercial production viable and increase accessibility of these products, it is crucial to develop simple, rapid and reproducible preparations of biocompatible iron oxide nanoparticles. Here, we report a rapid, straightforward microwave-assisted synthesis of superparamagnetic dextran-coated iron oxide nanoparticles. The nanoparticles were produced in two hydrodynamic sizes with differing core morphologies by varying the synthetic method as either a two-step or single-step process. A striking benefit of these methods is the ability to obtain swift and consistent results without the necessity for air-, pH- or temperature-sensitive techniques; therefore, reaction times and complex manufacturing processes are greatly reduced as compared to conventional synthetic methods. This is a great benefit for cost-effective translation to commercial production. The nanoparticles are found to be superparamagnetic and exhibit properties consistent for use in MRI. In addition, the dextran coating imparts the water solubility and biocompatibility necessary for in vivo utilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number215602
Issue number21
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Materials Science(all)


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