Nanotech 2010

Plasmonic Nanobubbles: tunable and transient probes for cancer diagnosis, therapy and theranostics

E. Lukianova-Hleb, R. Drezek, J. Hafner, D. Lapotko
Rice University, US

Keywords: laser, plasmon resonance, gold nanoparticle, photothermal, bubble, theranostics


We report a tunable theranostic probe that can support the diagnosis, therapy and therapy guidance in one process in individual cancer cells. This probe is a plasmonic nanobubble (PNB), which is not a particle but an event (transient vapor nanobubble) that is generated on-demand with a short laser pulse around gold nanoparticles targeted to specific cell. Basic biomedical properties of the PNB are related to its optical scattering and disruptive mechanical impact and are determined by the PNB diameter that can be tuned starting from 50 nm by varying the energy of excitation laser pulse. By tuning the size and lifetime of the intracellular PNB, we have realized several specific biomedical functions of the PNB: imaging with significantly (50-fold increase relative to gold NPs) improved sensitivity and contrast, controlled and guided release of molecular loads, and cell mechanical (non-thermal) damage with larger PNB. Being stealth, on-demand probe with tunable function, the PNB can be applied to cancer diagnosis and guided treatment and can also be employed for detecting and manipulating specific molecules, or for precise microsurgery.
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