Metal Organic Frameworks for Scintillation Detection of Low Energy Radionuclides

Case ID:

Scintillating metal-organic framework (MOF) particles provide enhanced and robust low-energy β emission sensing in aqueous systems. In addition to being stable and dispersive in aqueous solutions, the scintillating -MOFs are stable and functional in a wide range of organic and aqueous-organic systems and uniquely allow control of excitonic transport within the particle in order to avoid energy dissipation during exciton transfer, making it possible to achieve an ultrasensitive platform to sense β emitters in biological systems. The scintillating MOFs mesoporous nanostructures are composed of Zr or Hf metal clusters and organic luminescent linkers (L), such as poly aromatic compounds.

Low-energy beta (β) radioemitters (3H, 14C, 33P, 35S) can be quite useful as labels in biological research, but the sensing and quantifying of β emission is challenging given its characteristic low decay energy and short penetration depth in aqueous solutions.  Current proximity-based β emitter sensing options are often based on scintillating fluorophore-doped polymeric particles or yttrium silicate spheres, but intrinsic aqueous instabilities, chemical instability, and/or low efficiencies result in low sensitivity and limit their applicability in biological fields.


  • Liquid scintillation measurements
  • Scintillation proximity assays
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Radioisotope tracing
  • Biocompatible scintillation for biochemical, biomedical research


  • Higher scintillation response
  • Stable in aqueous, organic, or mixed solvents
  • Enables continuous monitoring for direct, time-resolved measurements
  • Maximize value of isotopes through purification from aqueous solutions
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Laura Silva
Sr. Licensing Manager, COS
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Craig Aspinwall
Chen-Yi Ke
Minhui Han
Brian Zacher