Gallstone-Formation-Inspired Bimetallic Supra-nanostructures for Computed-Tomography-Image-Guided Radiation Therapy

Soojeong Cho, Wooram Park, Hacksung Kim, Jacob R. Jokisaari, Eric W. Roth, Sungsik Lee, Robert F. Klie, Byeongdu Lee*, Dong Hyun Kim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Inspired by the gallstone formation mechanism, we report a fast one-pot synthesis of high-surface-area bimetallic hierarchical supra-nanostructures. As gallstones are generated from metal cholate complexes, cholate bile acid molecules with Au/Ag metal precursors formed stable nanocomplexes aggregated with metal Au ions and preformed ?2 nm silver halide nanoparticles before reduction. When a reducing agent was added, the metal cholate nanocomplexes quickly formed noble bimetallic hierarchical supra-nanostructures. The morphology of bimetallic supra-nanostructures could be tailored by changing the feeding ratio of each metal precursor. In situ synchrotron small-angle X-ray scattering measurement with a custom-designed reaction cell showed two-step growth and attachment behavior toward hierarchical supra-nanostructures from the gallstone-formation-inspired metal cholate nanocomplexes in a 60 s reaction. Additional wide-angle X-ray scattering, X-ray absorption near-edge structure, in situ Fourier transform infrared, and high-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy investigations subsequently revealed the mechanism for the evolution of bimetallic hierarchical supra-nanostructures. The gallstone-formation-inspired synthesis mechanism can be universally applied to other metals, for example, Pt-Ag and Pd-Ag bimetallic nanostructures. Finally, the synthesized high-surface-area bimetallic supra-nanostructures demonstrated significantly enhanced X-ray computed tomography imaging contrast and radiosensitizing effect for a potential image-guided nanomedicine application. We believe that our synthetic method inspired by gallstone formation and understanding represents an important step toward the development of hierarchical nanoparticles for various applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4602-4611
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Nano Materials
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 28 2018


  • CT imaging
  • bimetallic
  • cholate
  • gallstone
  • nanocomplexes
  • nanoparticles
  • radiosensitizing
  • radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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