The mesoporous structure of sol-gel prepared gadolinium and europium doped silicate nanoparticles has been found to be highly dependent on the formulated composition, with synthesised samples displaying both disordered and hexagonally ordered mesoporous packing symmetry. The degree of pore ordering within the nanoparticles has a strong correlation with the total lanthanide (Gd(3+) and Eu(3+) ) concentration. The gadolinosilicates are excellent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) longitudinal (T1 ) agents. The longitudinal relaxivity (r1 ) and transverse (r2 ) relaxivity, a measure of MRI contrast agent efficiency, were up to four times higher than the clinically employed Omniscan (gadodiamide); with r1 up to 20.6 s(-1) mM(-1) and r2 of 66.2 s(-1) mM(-1) compared to 5.53 and 4.64 s(-1) mM(-1) , respectively, for Omniscan. In addition, the europium content of all the samples studied is below the self-quenching limit, which results in a strong luminescence response from the nanoparticles on excitation at 250 nm. The Eu-Gd silicate nanoparticles act as bimodal imaging agents for MRI and luminescence. These mesoporous nanoparticles also have the potential to serve as encapsulation and controlled release matrices for pharmaceuticals. They are therefore a promising multimodal theranostic platform.