Carbon Coated Iron-Cobalt Nanoparticles for Magnetic Particle Imaging

Raj Kumar, Md Nurul Huda, Ahsan Habib, Md Nafiujjaman, Hyun Joo Woo, Taeho Kim, Md Nurunnabi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Magnetic particle imaging (MPI) is an emerging imaging modality that provides direct and quantitative mapping of iron oxide tracers. To achieve high sensitivity and good spatial resolution images, a magnetic nanoparticle with a higher contrast intensity needs to be developed. Currently, a majority of MPIs being developed for potential clinical application are composed of iron oxide nanoparticles with a spherical shape. In this project, we intend to report development of high-performance carbon (C) coated iron-cobalt (FeCo) nanoparticles (FeCo/C) and investigate their feasibility as a MPI agent. We have synthesized FeCo/C through a facile and simple method at mild temperature that is safe, easy, and up-scalable. We studied the structural and functional relationships and biocompatibility of this MPI agent in vitro. However, to enhance the aqueous solubility and biocompatibility, the surface of FeCo/C was modified with polyethylene glycol (PEG). We found that variation in the ratio of Fe and Co plays a vital role in their physical properties and functionality. In vitro imaging confirms that the Fe3Co1/C nanoparticle has highly competitive MPI intensity compared to VivoTrax, a commercially available MPI agent. Confocal laser scanning microscopy imaging with Rhodamine B labeled FeCo/C displays cellular internalization by the A375 cancer cells. The in vitro toxicity analysis concludes that there is no significant toxicity of FeCo/C nanoparticles. Therefore, the newly developed MPI agent holds strong promise for biomedical imaging and could be further validated in vivo in small animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3257-3265
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Bio Materials
Issue number8
StatePublished - 21 Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Chemical Society


We acknowledge funding by the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) through the Texas Regional Excellence in Cancer Award (TREC) under Award No. RP210153, and National Institutes of Health (NIH) under Award No R03OD032624. The contents of this paper are solely the authors’ responsibility and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIH.

FundersFunder number
Texas Regional Excellence in Cancer AwardRP210153
National Institutes of HealthR03OD032624
Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas


    • MPI
    • bioimaging
    • iron−cobalt nanoparticles
    • magnetic nanoparticles
    • metal nanoparticles


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