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1.  Scalable routes to gold nanoshells with tunable sizes and their response to near infrared pulsed laser irradiation 
We present a simplified synthesis of hollow gold nanoshells 20-50 nm in diameter via the well-established templated galvanic replacement reaction of silver for gold. The surface plasmon resonance absorbance of nanoshells made in this fashion can be tuned using basic colloid chemistry to control the size of the silver templates. The gold nanoshells can be varied in size and shell thickness depending on silver/gold reagent ratios and have an aqueous core. The template replacement chemistry is rapid, highly scalable, uses minimal amounts of toxic reagents, and in many cases is a true `one pot' synthesis. The smallest nanoshells (20 nm diameter, 7 nm wall thickness) reach the highest temperature on irradiation with femtosecond light pulses in the near infrared and anneal to form spherical nanoparticles fastest, even though their plasmon resonance does not overlap as well as the larger nanoshells (50 nm diameter, 7 nm wall thickness) with the 800 nm wavelength excitation. Optimizing a nanoshell structure to reach the highest nanoshell temperature is not the same as optimizing the structure for maximum energy absorbance.
PMCID: PMC2692070  PMID: 18623295
Nanoparticles; galvanic replacement reactions; silver
2.  Gold-Based Magneto/Optical Nanostructures: Challenges for In Vivo Applications in Cancer Diagnostics and Therapy 
Materials research bulletin  2009;34(6):415-421.
Nanoparticles with gold shell and iron core have unique optical and magnetic properties which can be utilized for simultaneous detection and treatment strategies. Several nanoparticles have been synthesized and shown to mediate a variety of potential applications in biomedicine, including cancer molecular optical and magnetic resonance imaging, controlled drug delivery, and photothermal ablation therapy. However, to be effective, these nanoparticles must be delivered efficiently into their targets. In this review, we will provide an updated summary of the gold-shelled magnetic nanoparticles that have been synthesized, methods for characterization, and their potential for cancer diagnosis and treatment. We will also discuss the biological barriers that need to be overcome for the effective delivery of these nanoparticles. The desired nanoparticle characteristics needed to evade these biological barriers were also explained. Hopefully, this review will help researchers in designing nanoparticles by carefully choosing the optimum size, shape, surface charge, and surface coating.
PMCID: PMC2891272  PMID: 20582234
3.  Light trapping and surface plasmon enhanced high-performance NIR photodetector 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:3914.
Heterojunctions near infrared (NIR) photodetectors have attracted increasing research interests for their wide-ranging applications in many areas such as military surveillance, target detection, and light vision. A high-performance NIR light photodetector was fabricated by coating the methyl-group terminated Si nanowire array with plasmonic gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) decorated graphene film. Theoretical simulation based on finite element method (FEM) reveals that the AuNPs@graphene/CH3-SiNWs array device is capable of trapping the incident NIR light into the SiNWs array through SPP excitation and coupling in the AuNPs decorated graphene layer. What is more, the coupling and trapping of freely propagating plane waves from free space into the nanostructures, and surface passivation contribute to the high on-off ratio as well.
PMCID: PMC3904145  PMID: 24468857
4.  Optothermal Escape of Plasmonically Coupled Silver Nanoparticles from a Three-Dimensional Optical Trap 
Nano letters  2011;11(4):10.1021/nl2003544.
We demonstrate that optical trapping of multiple silver nanoparticles is strongly influenced by plasmonic coupling of the nanoparticles. Employing dark-field Rayleigh scattering imaging and spectroscopy on multiple silver nanoparticles optically trapped in three dimensions we experimentally investigate the time-evolution of the coupled plasmon resonance and its influence on the trapping stability. With time the coupling strengthens, which is observed as a gradual red-shift of the coupled plasmon scattering. When the coupled plasmon becomes resonant with the trapping laser wavelength, the trap is destabilized and nanoparticles are released from the trap. Modeling of the trapping potential and its comparison to the plasmonic heating efficiency at various nanoparticle separation distances suggests a thermal mechanism of the trap destabilization. Our findings provide insight into the specificity of three-dimensional optical manipulation of plasmonic nanostructures suitable for field enhancement, for example for surface enhanced Raman scattering.
PMCID: PMC3839263  PMID: 21410159
metal nanoparticle; optical trapping; optical heating; plasmonic coupling; dark-field spectroscopy
5.  Targeting Gold Nanocages to Cancer Cells for Photothermal Destruction and Drug Delivery 
Expert opinion on drug delivery  2010;7(5):577-587.
(i) Importance of the field
Plasmonic nanoparticles provide a novel route to treat cancer due to their ability to effectively convert light into heat for photothermal destruction. Combined with the targeting mechanisms possible with nanoscale materials, this technique has the potential to enable highly targeted therapies to minimize undesirable side effects.
(ii) Areas covered in this review
This review discusses the use of gold nanocages, a novel class of plasmonic nanoparticles, for photothermal applications. Gold nanocages are hollow, porous structures with compact sizes, precisely controlled plasmonic properties and surface chemistry. Additionally, we discuss a recent study of gold nanocages as drug-release carriers by externally controlling the opening and closing of the pores with a smart polymer whose conformation changes at a specific temperature. Release of the contents can be initiated remotely through near-infrared irradiation. Together, these topics cover the years from 2002-2009.
(iii) What the reader will gain
The reader will be exposed to different aspects of gold nanocages, including synthesis, surface modification, in vitro studies, intial in vivo data, and perspectives on future studies.
(iv) Take home message
Gold nanocages are a promising platform for cancer therapy in terms of both photothermal destruction and drug delivery.
PMCID: PMC2858262  PMID: 20345327
photothermal therapy; drug delivery; nanotechnology; nanomedicine
6.  Bifunctional Gold Nanoshells with a Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide-Silica Core Suitable for Both MR Imaging and Photothermal Therapy 
We describe the synthesis, characterization, and use of hybrid nanoparticles with a superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) core and a gold nanoshell. These multifunctional nanoparticles, designated SPIO-Au nanoshells, displayed superparamagnetic characteristics and a significant absorbance in the near-infrared (NIR) region of the electromagnetic spectrum. In addition, they exhibited high transverse relaxivity, r2, and a large r2/r1 ratio and therefore could be imaged by MRI to obtain T2-weighted images. Moreover, SPIO-Au nanoshells showed efficient photo-thermal effect when exposed to NIR light. The use of SPIO-Au nanoshells, with their combination of unique magnetic and optical properties, should enhance the efficacy of nanoshell-mediated photo-thermal therapy by making it possible to direct more nanoparticles to tumors through the application of external magnetic field and by permitting real-time in vivo MRI imaging of the distribution of the nanoparticles before, during, and after photo-thermal therapy.
PMCID: PMC2822349  PMID: 20165552
Near-infrared; Nanoshells; Magnetic resonance imaging; Photo-thermal therapy
7.  Limitations on the Optical Tunability of Small Diameter Gold Nanoshells 
Gold (Au) nanoshells were grown on silica nanoparticles with differing average diameters, ranging from 30 nm to 120 nm. Au nanoshells were also formed on silica spheres encapsulating 5 nm diameter magnetic iron oxide nanocrystals. The optical absorbance spectra of these Au nanoshells are reported. The plasmon resonance wavelengths of the smaller diameter nanoshells were significantly less tunable than those of the larger diameter nanoshells. This is due to a reduced range of accessible core-shell ratio—the geometric factor that determines the plasmon peak position—as the silica core diameter shrinks. The smaller diameter nanoshells were also found to be highly prone to aggregation, which broadens the plasmon absorption peak. Model calculations of dispersion stability as a function of silica core diameter reveal that smaller diameter Au shells exhibit more aggregation because of the size-dependence of the electrostatic double-layer potential.
PMCID: PMC2768335  PMID: 19711913
8.  Plasmonic fluorescent quantum dots 
Nature nanotechnology  2009;4(9):571-576.
Combining multiple discrete components into a single multifunctional nanoparticle could be useful in a variety of applications. Retaining the unique optical and electrical properties of each component after nanoscale integration is, however, a long-standing problem1,2. It is particularly difficult when trying to combine fluorophores such as semiconductor quantum dots with plasmonic materials such as gold, because gold and other metals can quench the fluorescence3,4. So far, the combination of quantum dot fluorescence with plasmonically active gold has only been demonstrated on flat surfaces5. Here, we combine fluorescent and plasmonic activities in a single nanoparticle by controlling the spacing between a quantum dot core and an ultrathin gold shell with nanometre precision through layer-by-layer assembly. Our wet-chemistry approach provides a general route for the deposition of ultrathin gold layers onto virtually any discrete nanostructure or continuous surface, and should prove useful for multimodal bioimaging6, interfacing with biological systems7, reducing nanotoxicity8, modulating electromagnetic fields5 and contacting nanostructures9,10.
PMCID: PMC2773548  PMID: 19734929
9.  Theranostics with Multifunctional Magnetic Gold Nanoshells: Photothermal Therapy and T2* Magnetic Resonance Imaging 
Investigative radiology  2011;46(2):132-140.
To investigate the multifunctional imaging and therapeutic capabilities of core-shell nanoparticles composed of a superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) core and a gold shell (SPIO@AuNS).
Materials and Methods
The magnetic/optical properties of SPIO@AuNS were examined both in an agar gel phantom and in vivo by evaluating contrast-enhanced MRI and by measuring near-infrared (NIR) light-induced temperature changes mediated by SPIO@AuNS. In addition, the biodistribution and pharmacokinetics of 111In-labeled SPIO@AuNS after intravenous injection in mice bearing A431 tumors were evaluated in the presence and absence of an external magnet.
In agar phantoms containing SPIO@AuNS, a significant contrast enhancement in T2-weighted MRI was observed and a linear increase in temperature was observed with increasing concentration and laser output power when irradiated with NIR light centered at an 808-nm. In vivo, T2*-MRI delineated SPIO@AuNS and magnetic resonance temperature imaging of the same tumors revealed significant temperature elevations when intratumorally injected with SPIO@AuNS (1 × 1011 particles/mouse) and irradiated with NIR light (65.70 ± 0.69°C vs. 44.23 ± 0.24°C for saline + laser). Biodistribution studies in mice intravenously injected with 111In-labeled-SPIO@AuNS(1 × 1013 particles/mouse) had an approximately 2-fold increase in SPIO@AuNS delivered into tumors in the presence of an external magnet compared to tumors without the magnet.
Owing to its ability to mediate efficient photothermal ablation of cancer cells under MRI guidance, as well as the ability to be directed to solid tumors with an external magnetic field gradient, multifunctional SPIO@AuNS is a promising theranostic nano-platform.
PMCID: PMC3435880  PMID: 21150791
theranostics; gold nanoshells; T2* magnetic resonance imaging; photothermal ablation; ultrasmall paramagnetic iron oxide
10.  VCAM-1-targeted core/shell nanoparticles for selective adhesion and delivery to endothelial cells with lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation under shear flow and cellular magnetic resonance imaging in vitro 
Multifunctional nanomaterials with unique magnetic and luminescent properties have broad potential in biological applications. Because of the overexpression of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) receptors in inflammatory endothelial cells as compared with normal endothelial cells, an anti-VCAM-1 monoclonal antibody can be used as a targeting ligand. Herein we describe the development of multifunctional core-shell Fe3O4@SiO2 nanoparticles with the ability to target inflammatory endothelial cells via VCAM-1, magnetism, and fluorescence imaging, with efficient magnetic resonance imaging contrast characteristics. Superparamagnetic iron oxide and fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) were loaded successfully inside the nanoparticle core and the silica shell, respectively, creating VCAM-1-targeted Fe3O4@SiO2(FITC) nanoparticles that were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, fluorescence spectrometry, zeta potential assay, and fluorescence microscopy. The VCAM-1-targeted Fe3O4@SiO2(FITC) nanoparticles typically had a diameter of 355 ± 37 nm, showed superparamagnetic behavior at room temperature, and cumulative and targeted adhesion to an inflammatory subline of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC-CS) activated by lipopolysaccharide. Further, our data show that adhesion of VCAM-1-targeted Fe3O4@SiO2(FITC) nanoparticles to inflammatory HUVEC-CS depended on both shear stress and duration of exposure to stress. Analysis of internalization into HUVEC-CS showed that the efficiency of delivery of VCAM-1-targeted Fe3O4@SiO2(FITC) nanoparticles was also significantly greater than that of nontargeted Fe3O4@SiO2(FITC)-NH2 nanoparticles. Magnetic resonance images showed that the superparamagnetic iron oxide cores of the VCAM-1-targeted Fe3O4@SiO2(FITC) nanoparticles could also act as a contrast agent for magnetic resonance imaging. Taken together, the cumulative adhesion and uptake potential of these VCAM-1-targeted Fe3O4@SiO2(FITC) nanoparticles targeted to inflammatory endothelial cells could be used in the transfer of therapeutic drugs/genes into these cells or for diagnosis of vascular disease at the molecular and cellular levels in the future.
PMCID: PMC3658441  PMID: 23696701
silica nanoparticles; vascular cell adhesion molecule-1; endothelial cells; adhesion; magnetic resonance imaging
11.  Sombrero-Shaped Plasmonic Nanoparticles with Molecular-Level Sensitivity and Multifunctionality 
ACS Nano  2011;5(8):6449-6457.
We demonstrate top-down synthesis of monodisperse plasmonic nanoparticles designed to contain internal Raman hot spots. Our Raman-active nanoparticles are fabricated using nanoimprint lithography and thin-film deposition and are composed of novel internal structures with sublithographic dimensions: a disk-shaped Ag core, a Petri-dish-shaped SiO2 base whose inner surface is coated with Ag film, and a sub-10 nm scale circular gap between the core and the base. Confocal Raman measurements and electromagnetic simulations show that Raman hot spots appear at the inside perimeter of individual nanoparticles and serve as the source of a 1000-fold improvement of minimum molecular detection level that enables detection of signals from a few molecules near hot spots. A multimodality version of these nanoparticles, which includes the functionality offered by magnetic multilayers, is also demonstrated. These results illustrate the potential of direct fabrication for creating exotic monodisperse nanoparticles, which combine engineered internal nanostructures and multilayer composite materials, for use in nanoparticle-based molecular imaging and detection.
PMCID: PMC3160147  PMID: 21732686
surface-enhanced Raman scattering; plasmonic; nanoparticle; magnetic
12.  Synthesis and characterization of core-shell Fe3O4-gold-chitosan nanostructure 
Fe3O4-gold-chitosan core-shell nanostructure can be used in biotechnological and biomedical applications such as magnetic bioseparation, water and wastewater treatment, biodetection and bioimaging, drug delivery, and cancer treatment.
Magnetite nanoparticles with an average size of 9.8 nm in diameter were synthesized using the chemical co-precipitation method. A gold-coated Fe3O4 monotonous core-shell nanostructure was produced with an average size of 15 nm in diameter by glucose reduction of Au3+ which is then stabilized with a chitosan cross linked by formaldehyde. The results of analyses with X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) indicated that the nanoparticles were regularly shaped, and agglomerate-free, with a narrow size distribution.
A rapid, mild method for synthesizing Fe3O4-gold nanoparticles using chitosan was investigated. A magnetic core-shell-chitosan nanocomposite, including both the supermagnetic properties of iron oxide and the optical characteristics of colloidal gold nanoparticles, was synthesized.
PMCID: PMC3265409  PMID: 22221555
bioseparation; core-shell; Fe3O4-gold-chitosan; hydrogel; magnetic; nanocomposite; nanoparticle
13.  Manufacture of IRDye800CW-coupled Fe3O4 nanoparticles and their applications in cell labeling and in vivo imaging 
In recent years, near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF)-labeled iron nanoparticles have been synthesized and applied in a number of applications, including the labeling of human cells for monitoring the engraftment process, imaging tumors, sensoring the in vivo molecular environment surrounding nanoparticles and tracing their in vivo biodistribution. These studies demonstrate that NIRF-labeled iron nanoparticles provide an efficient probe for cell labeling. Furthermore, the in vivo imaging studies show excellent performance of the NIR fluorophores. However, there is a limited selection of NIRF-labeled iron nanoparticles with an optimal wavelength for imaging around 800 nm, where tissue autofluorescence is minimal. Therefore, it is necessary to develop additional alternative NIRF-labeled iron nanoparticles for application in this area.
This study manufactured 12-nm DMSA-coated Fe3O4 nanoparticles labeled with a near-infrared fluorophore, IRDye800CW (excitation/emission, 774/789 nm), to investigate their applicability in cell labeling and in vivo imaging. The mouse macrophage RAW264.7 was labeled with IRDye800CW-labeled Fe3O4 nanoparticles at concentrations of 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 80 and 100 μg/ml for 24 h. The results revealed that the cells were efficiently labeled by the nanoparticles, without any significant effect on cell viability. The nanoparticles were injected into the mouse via the tail vein, at dosages of 2 or 5 mg/kg body weight, and the mouse was discontinuously imaged for 24 h. The results demonstrated that the nanoparticles gradually accumulated in liver and kidney regions following injection, reaching maximum concentrations at 6 h post-injection, following which they were gradually removed from these regions. After tracing the nanoparticles throughout the body it was revealed that they mainly distributed in three organs, the liver, spleen and kidney. Real-time live-body imaging effectively reported the dynamic process of the biodistribution and clearance of the nanoparticles in vivo.
IRDye800CW-labeled Fe3O4 nanoparticles provide an effective probe for cell-labeling and in vivo imaging.
PMCID: PMC2984479  PMID: 21034487
14.  Photoluminescence of a single complex plasmonic nanoparticle 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:3867.
We report detailed investigations of the photoluminescence (PL) generated from an individual gold nanoflower, a highly branched plasmonic nanoparticle. Compared to nanostructures with simple shapes, such as spheres, nanorods, and bipyramids, nanoflowers exhibit more distinct features, i.e., the PL spectra and far-field emission patterns are strongly dependent on the wavelength and polarization of the excitation light. The experimental results are qualitatively explained using theoretical calculations. In addition, the intrinsic PL signal is highly dominated by localized surface plasmon resonances. The crucial role of plasmonic coupling in complex nanostructures during the plasmon-enhanced PL process is highlighted. The findings contribute to a deeper understanding of the PL properties of metallic nanoparticles. This study will be beneficial for several potential applications, including optical imaging and sensing in the fields of materials science and biology.
PMCID: PMC3902388  PMID: 24463794
15.  Magnetic and optical properties of multifunctional core-shell radioluminescence nanoparticles 
Journal of materials chemistry  2012;22(25):12802-12809.
When X-rays irradiate radioluminescence nanoparticles, they generate visible and near infrared light that can penetrate through centimeters of tissue. X-ray luminescence tomography (XLT) maps the location of these radioluminescent contrast agents at high resolution by scanning a narrow X-ray beam through the tissue sample and collecting the luminescence at every position. Adding magnetic functionality to these radioluminescent particles would enable them to be guided, oriented, and heated using external magnetic fields, while their location and spectrum could be imaged with XLT and complementary magnetic resonance imaging. In this work, multifunctional monodispersed magnetic radioluminescent nanoparticles were developed as potential drug delivery carriers and radioluminescence imaging agents. The particles consisted of a spindle-shaped magnetic γ-Fe2O3 core and a radioluminescent europium-doped gadolinium oxide shell. Particles with solid iron oxide cores displayed saturation magnetizations consistent with their ~13% core volume, however, the iron oxide quenched their luminescence. In order to increase the luminescence, we partially etched the iron oxide core in oxalic acid while preserving the radioluminescent shell. The core size was controlled by the etching time which in turn affected the particles’ luminescence and magnetic properties. Particles with intermediate core sizes displayed both strong magnetophoresis and luminescence properties. They also served as MRI contrast agents with relaxivities of up to 58 mM−1s−1 (r2) and 120 mM−1s−1 (r2*). These particles offer promising multimodal MRI/fluorescence/X-ray luminescence contrast agents. Our core-shell synthesis technique offers a flexible method to control particle size, shape, and composition for a wide range of biological applications of magnetic/luminescent nanoparticles.
PMCID: PMC3918467  PMID: 24520183
16.  Investigation of In Vitro Drug Release from Porous Hollow Silica Nanospheres Prepared of ZnS@SiO2 Core-Shell 
In this contribution, porous hollow silica nanoparticles using inorganic nanosized ZnS as a template were prepared. The hydrothermal method was used to synthesize pure ZnS nanospheres material. The ZnS@SiO2 core-shell nanocomposites were prepared using a simple sol-gel method successfully. The hollow silica nanostructures were achieved by selective removal of the ZnS core. The morphology, structure, and composition of the product were determined using powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), emission scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR). The results demonstrated clearly that the pure ZnS nanoparticles are in a spherical form with the average size of 40 nm and correspond with zinc blend structure. The porous hollow silica nanoparticles obtained were exploited as drug carriers to investigate in vitro release behavior of amoxicillin in simulated body fluid (SBF). UV-visible spectrometry was carried out to determine the amount of amoxicillin entrapped in the carrier. Amoxicillin release profile from porous hollow silica nanoparticles followed a three-stage pattern and indicated a delayed release effect.
PMCID: PMC3792506  PMID: 24170995
17.  Fabrication and spectroscopic investigation of branched silver nanowires and nanomeshworks 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2012;7(1):596.
Wide wavelength ranges of light localization and scattering characteristics can be attributed to shape-dependent longitude surface plasmon resonance in complicated nanostructures. We have studied this phenomenon by spectroscopic measurement and a three-dimensional numerical simulation, for the first time, on the high-density branched silver nanowires and nanomeshworks at room temperature. These nanostructures were fabricated with simple light-induced colloidal method. In the range from the visible to the near-infrared wavelengths, light has been found effectively trapped in those trapping sites which were randomly distributed at the corners, the branches, and the junctions of the nanostructures in those nanostructures in three dimensions. The broadened bandwidth electromagnetic field enhancement property makes these branched nanostructures useful in optical processing and photovoltaic applications.
PMCID: PMC3577568  PMID: 23101991
Silver Nanowires; Nanomeshworks; Branched nanostructures; Localized surface plasmon resonance; Hot spots; Bandwidth
18.  A gold nanoshell with a silica inner shell synthesized using liposome templates for doxorubicin loading and near-infrared photothermal therapy 
Gold (Au) nanoshells with solid silica cores have great potential for cancer photothermal therapy. However, this nanostructure cannot carry enough drugs. Here, we report a Au nanoshell with a hollow silica core for drug loading and cancer therapy. The silica shells were synthesized using nanoliposome templates, and then Au nanoshells were grown on the outer surface of the silica shells. Transmission-electron and scanning-electron microscopy showed that the Au nanoshells were successfully fabricated, and that the liposome/SiO2/Au core-shell nanocomposites were spherical with a narrow size distribution. Images of several broken spheres, and the fact that hollow templates (liposomes) were used, suggest that the fabricated Au nanoshells were hollow. After doxorubicin (DOX) was incorporated into liposome/SiO2/Au, the DOX-loaded Au nanoshells killed cancer cells with high therapeutic efficacy when irradiated with near-infrared light, suggesting that the Au nanoshells delivered both DOX chemotherapy and photothermal therapy with a synergistic effect.
PMCID: PMC3090277  PMID: 21589648
gold nanoshell; liposome template; synthesis; doxorubicin; cancer therapy
19.  Bimetallic Nanoshells for Metal – Enhanced Fluorescence with Broad Band Fluorophores 
In this article, we reported the near-field interactions between the Ru(bpy)32+ complexes and plasmon resonances from the bimetallic nanoshells. The metallic nanoshells were fabricated on 20 nm silica spheres as cores by depositing 10 nm monometallic or bimetallic shells. There were approx. 15 Ru(bpy)32+ complexes in the silica core. The metal shells were constituted of silver or/and gold. The bimetallic shells could be generated in homogeneous or heterogeneous geometries. The homogeneous bimetallic shells contained 10 nm silver-gold alloys. The heterogeneous bimetallic shells contained successive 5 nm gold and 5 nm silver shells, or alternatively, 5 nm silver and 5 nm gold shells. Optical properties of metal nanoshells were studied on both the ensemble spectra and single nanoparticle imaging measurements. The heterogeneous bimetallic shells were found to have a large scale of metal-enhanced emission relative to the monometallic or homogeneous bimetallic shells. It is because the heterogeneous bimetallic shells may display split dual plasmon resonances which can interact with the excitation and emission bands of the Ru(bpy)32+ complexes in the silica cores leading to more efficient near-field interactions. The prediction can be demonstrated by the lifetimes. Therefore, it is suggested that both the compositions and geometries of the metal shells can influence the interactions with the fluorophores in the cores. This observation also offers us an opportunity for developing plasmon-based fluorescence metal nanoparticles as novel nanoparticle imaging agents which have high performances in fluorescence cell or tissue imaging.
PMCID: PMC3516846  PMID: 23230456
fluorescence; bimetallic nanoshell; plasmon resonance; Ru(bpy)32+ complexes; optical properties of single nanoparticle; time-resolved confocal microscope; and near-field interaction
20.  Released Plasmonic Electric Field of Ultrathin Tetrahedral-Amorphous-Carbon Films Coated Ag Nanoparticles for SERS 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4494.
We have demonstrated the plasmonic characteristics of an ultrathin tetrahedral amorphous carbon (ta-C) film coated with Ag nanoparticles. The simulation result shows that, under resonant and non-resonant excitations, the strongest plasmonic electric field of 1 nm ta-C coated Ag nanoparticle is not trapped within the ta-C layer but is released to its outside surface, while leaving the weaker electric field inside ta-C layer. Moreover, this outside plasmonic field shows higher intensity than that of uncoated Ag nanoparticle, which is closely dependent on the excitation wavelength and size of Ag particles. These observations are supported by the SERS measurements. We expect that the ability for ultrathin ta-C coated Ag nanoparticles as the SERS substrates to detect low concentrations of target biomolecules opens the door to the applications where it can be used as a detection tool for integrated, on-chip devices.
PMCID: PMC3968450  PMID: 24675437
21.  Gold Nanocages: From Synthesis to Theranostic Applications 
Accounts of chemical research  2011;44(10):914-924.
Gold nanostructures have garnered considerable attention in recent years for their potential to enhance both the diagnosis and treatment of cancer through their advantageous chemical and physical properties. The key feature of Au nanostructures for enabling this diverse array of biomedical applications is their attractive optical properties, i.e. the scattering and absorption of light at resonant wavelengths due to the excitation of plasmon oscillations. This phenomenon is commonly known as localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) and is the source of the ruby red color of conventional Au colloids. The resonant wavelength is highly dependent on the size, shape, and geometry of the nanostructures, providing a set of knobs to maneuver the optical properties as needed. For in vivo applications, especially when optical excitation or transduction is involved, the LSPR peaks of the Au nanostructures have to be tuned to the transparent window of soft tissues in the near-infrared (NIR) region (from 700–900 nm) in order to maximize the penetration depth.
One class of nanostructures with tunable LSPR peaks in the NIR region is Au nanocages. These versatile nanostructures are characterized by hollow interiors, ultrathin and porous walls, and can be prepared in relatively large quantities using a remarkably simple procedure based on the galvanic replacement between Ag nanocubes and aqueous chloroauric acid. The LSPR peaks of Au nanocages can be readily and precisely tuned to any wavelength in the NIR region by controlling their size and/or wall thickness. Other significant features of Au nanocages that make them particularly intriguing materials for biomedical applications include their compact sizes, large absorption cross sections (almost five orders of magnitude greater than those of conventional organic dyes), bio-inertness, as well as a robust and straightforward procedure for surface modification based on the Au-thiolate chemistry. In this article, we present some of the most recent advances in the use of Au nanocages for a broad range of theranostic applications, including their use: i) as tracers for tracking by multi-photon luminescence; ii) as contrast agents for photoacoustic (PA) and mutimodal (PA/fluorescence) imaging; iii) as photothermal agents for the selective destruction of cancerous or diseased tissue; and iv) as drug delivery vehicles for controlled and localized release in response to external stimuli such as NIR radiation or high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU).
PMCID: PMC3168958  PMID: 21528889
22.  Synthesis of Organic Dye-Impregnated Silica Shell-Coated Iron Oxide Nanoparticles by a New Method 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2008;3(12):496-501.
A new method for preparing magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles coated by organic dye-doped silica shell was developed in this article. Iron oxide nanoparticles were first coated with dye-impregnated silica shell by the hydrolysis of hexadecyltrimethoxysilane (HTMOS) which produced a hydrophobic core for the entrapment of organic dye molecules. Then, the particles were coated with a hydrophilic shell by the hydrolysis of tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS), which enabled water dispersal of the resulting nanoparticles. The final product was characterized by X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, photoluminescence spectroscopy, and vibration sample magnetometer. All the characterization results proved the final samples possessed magnetic and fluorescent properties simultaneously. And this new multifunctional nanomaterial possessed high photostability and minimal dye leakage.
PMCID: PMC2893840  PMID: 20596479
Fluorescent; Magnetic; Nanostructure; Synthesis; Hydrophobic silane
23.  Synthesis of Organic Dye-Impregnated Silica Shell-Coated Iron Oxide Nanoparticles by a New Method 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2008;3(12):496-501.
A new method for preparing magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles coated by organic dye-doped silica shell was developed in this article. Iron oxide nanoparticles were first coated with dye-impregnated silica shell by the hydrolysis of hexadecyltrimethoxysilane (HTMOS) which produced a hydrophobic core for the entrapment of organic dye molecules. Then, the particles were coated with a hydrophilic shell by the hydrolysis of tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS), which enabled water dispersal of the resulting nanoparticles. The final product was characterized by X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, photoluminescence spectroscopy, and vibration sample magnetometer. All the characterization results proved the final samples possessed magnetic and fluorescent properties simultaneously. And this new multifunctional nanomaterial possessed high photostability and minimal dye leakage.
PMCID: PMC2893840  PMID: 20596479
Fluorescent; Magnetic; Nanostructure; Synthesis; Hydrophobic silane
24.  Gold-Coated Iron Composite Nanospheres Targeted the Detection of Escherichia coli 
We report the preparation and characterization of spherical core-shell structured Fe3O4–Au magnetic nanoparticles, modified with two component self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) consisting of 3–mercaptophenylboronic acid (3–MBA) and 1–decanethiol (1–DT). The rapid and room temperature synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles was achieved using the hydroxylamine reduction of HAuCl4 on the surface of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)-immobilized iron (magnetite Fe3O4) nanoparticles in the presence of an aqueous solution of hexadecyltrimetylammonium bromide (CTAB) as a dispersant. The reduction of gold on the surface of Fe3O4 nanoparticles exhibits a uniform, highly stable, and narrow particle size distribution of Fe3O4–Au nanoparticles with an average diameter of 9 ± 2 nm. The saturation magnetization value for the resulting nanoparticles was found to be 15 emu/g at 298 K. Subsequent surface modification with SAMs against glucoside moieties on the surface of bacteria provided effective magnetic separation. Comparison of the bacteria capturing efficiency, by means of different molecular recognition agents 3–MBA, 1–DT and the mixed monolayer of 3–MBA and 1–DT was presented. The best capturing efficiency of E. coli was achieved with the mixed monolayer of 3–MBA and 1–DT-modified nanoparticles. Molecular specificity and selectivity were also demonstrated by comparing the surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectrum of E. coli-nanoparticle conjugates with bacterial growth media.
PMCID: PMC3634437  PMID: 23507756
magnetic gold nanoparticle; SERS; immunomagnetic separation; E. coli; surface functionalisation of particles
25.  Preparation and Characterization of a Magnetic and Optical Dual-Modality Molecular Probe 
Nanotechnology  2010;21(17):175704.
Multi-modality imaging probes combine the advantages of individual imaging techniques to yield highly detailed anatomic and molecular information in living organisms. Herein, we report the synthesis and characterization of a dual-modality nanoprobe that couples the magnetic properties of ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (USPIOs) with the near infrared fluorescence of Cy5.5. The fluorophore is encapsulated in a biocompatible shell of silica surrounding the iron oxide core for a final diameter of ~17 nm. This silica-coated iron oxide nanoparticle (SCION) has been analyzed by transmission electron microscopy, dynamic light scattering, and superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID). The particle demonstrates a strong negative surface charge and maintains colloidal stability in the physiological pH range. Magnetic hysteresis analysis confirms superparamagnetic properties that could be manipulated for thermotherapy. The viability of primary human monocytes, T cells, and B cells incubated with particle has been examined in vitro. In vivo analysis of agent leakage into subcutaneous A431 tumors in mice was also conducted. This particle has been designed for diagnostic application with magnetic resonance and fluorescence imaging, and has future potential to serve as a heat-sensitive targeted drug delivery platform.
PMCID: PMC2859998  PMID: 20368682

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