Compositions comprising nanosized objects (i.e., nanoparticles) in which at least one observable marker, such as a radioisotope or fluorophore, is incorporated within the nanosized object. The nanosized objects include, for example, metal or semi-metal oxide (e.g., silica), quantum dot, noble metal, magnetic metal oxide, organic polymer, metal salt, and core-shell nanoparticles, wherein the label is incorporated within the nanoparticle or selectively in a metal oxide shell of a core-shell nanoparticle. Methods of preparing the volume-labeled nanoparticles are also described.
 This invention was made with government support under Prime Contract No. DE-ACO5-00OR22725 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The U.S. government has certain rights in this invention.