Synthesis of a quantum nanocrystal-gold nanoshell complex for near-infrared generated fluorescence and photothermal decay of luminescence

Adam Y. Lin, Joseph K. Young, Ariel V. Nixon, Rebekah A. Drezek*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Multifunction nanoparticle complexes have previously been developed to aid physicians in both diagnosis and treatment of cancerous tissue. Here, we designed a nanoparticle complex structure that consists of a plasmonically active hollow gold nanoshell core surrounded by photoluminescent quantum nanocrystals (QNs) in the form of PbS encapsulated by a silica layer. There are three main design variables including HGN synthesis and optical tuning, formation of the silica layer on the hollow gold nanoshell surface, and fabrication and photoluminescence tuning of PbS quantum nanocrystals. The hollow gold nanoshells were deliberately designed to function in the optical regimes that maximize tissue transmissivity (800 nm) and minimize tissue absorption (1100 nm). Secondly, several chemical ligands were tested such as (3-mercaptopropyl)trimethoxysilane and mercaptoundecanoic acid for controlled growth of the silica layer. Last, PbS QNs were synthesized and optimized with various capping agents, where the nanocrystals excited at the same wavelength were used to activate the photothermal properties of the hollow gold nanoshells. Upon irradiation of the complex with a lower power 800 nm laser, the nanocrystals luminesce at 1100 nm. At ablative temperatures the intrinsic luminescent properties of the QNs are altered and the luminescent output is significantly reduced (>70%). While this paper focuses on synthesis and optimization of the QN-HGN complex, in the future we believe that this novel particle complex design may have the potential to serve as a triple theranostic agent, which will aid satellite tumor localization, photothermal treatment, and ablative confirmation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10701-10709
Number of pages9
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 21 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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