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We have recently reported the design and use of inorganic nanoparticles with persistent luminescence properties. Such nanoparticles can be excited with a UV lamp for 2 min and emit light in the near-infrared area for dozen of minutes without any further excitation. This property is of particular interest for small animal optical imaging, since it avoids the autofluorescence of endogenous fluorophores which is one major problem encountered when using fluorescent probes. We report herein the synthesis of persistent luminescence nanoparticles (PLNPs) and their functionalization with two small targeting molecules: biotin and Rak-2. We provide characterization of each PLNP as well as preliminary evidence of the ability of PLNP-PEG-Biotin to target streptavidin and PLNP-PEG-Rak-2 to bind prostate cancer cells in vitro.