High speed optical backbone links between a fleet of UAVs is an integral part of the Facebook connectivity architecture. To support the architecture, the optical terminals need to provide high throughput rates (in excess of tens of Gbps) while achieving low weight and power consumption. The initial effort is to develop and demonstrate an optical terminal capable of meeting the data rate requirements and demonstrate its functions for both air-air and air-ground engagements. This paper is a summary of the effort to date.
Dense inorganic nanoparticles have recently been identified as promising radiosensitizers. In addition to dose enhancement through increased attenuation of ionizing radiation relative to biological tissue, scintillating nanoparticles can transfer energy to coupled photosensitizers to amplify production of reactive oxygen species, as well as provide UVvisible emission for optical imaging. Lanthanum fluoride is a transparent material that is easily prepared as nanocrystals, and which can provide radioluminescence at a number of wavelengths through simple substitution of lanthanum ions with other luminescent lanthanides. We have prepared lanthanum fluoride nanoparticles doped with cerium, terbium, or both, that have good spectral overlap with chlorine6 or Rose Bengal photosensitizer molecules. We have also developed a strategy for stable conjugation of the photosensitizers to the nanoparticle surface, allowing for high energy transfer efficiencies on a per molecule basis. Additionally, we have succeeded in making our conjugates colloidally stable under physiological conditions. Here we present our latest results, using nanoparticles and nanoparticle-photosensitizer conjugates to demonstrate radiation dose enhancement in B16 melanoma cells. The effects of nanoparticle treatment prior to 250 kVp x-ray irradiation were investigated through clonogenic survival assays and cell cycle analysis. Using a custom apparatus, we have also observed scintillation of the nanoparticles and conjugates under the same conditions that the cell samples are irradiated.
We report progress towards combining radiation therapy (RT) and photodynamic therapy (PDT) using scintillating nanoparticle (NP)-photosensitizer conjugates. In this approach, scintillating NPs are excited by clinically relevant ionizing radiation sources and subsequently transfer energy to conjugated photosensitizers via FRET, acting as an energy mediator between ionizing radiation and photosensitizer molecules. The excited photosensitizers generate reactive oxygen species that can induce local damage and immune response. Advantages of the scheme include: 1) Compared with traditional radiation therapy, a possible decrease of the total radiation dose needed to eliminate the lesion; 2) Compared with traditional PDT, the ability to target deeper and more highly pigmented lesions; 3) The possibility of additional photosensitizing effects due to the scintillation of the nanoparticles. In this work, the photosensitizer molecule chlorin e6 was covalently bound to the surface of LaF3:Ce NPs. After conjugation, the photoluminescence intensity of NPs decreased, and fluorescence lifetime of conjugated chlorin e6 became sensitive to excitation wavelength, suggesting rapid FRET. In addition, scintillation spectra of nanoparticles were measured. Preliminary calculations suggest that the observed scintillation efficiencies are sufficient to enhance RT. In vitro cancer cell studies suggest conjugates are taken up by cells. Survival curves with radiation exposure suggest that the particles alone cause radiosensitization comparable to that seen with gold nanoparticles.