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Yolk-shell nanoparticles: New avenues for developing nanoreactors and delivery vehicles

J. Liu, S.Z. Qiao, S. Budi Hartono, G.Q. Lu
Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, AU

Keywords: yolk shell, mesoporous materials, delivery vehicle, nanoreactor


Yolk–shell structures are a special type of core–shell structure with interstitial hollow spaces between the core and shell sections. Their unique architecture suggests exciting potential for applications such as drug delivery and as nanoreactors. However, synthetic routes towards these materials are not straightforward and lack controllability. Herein, we report a surfactant-based strategy to synthesize highly uniform and monodisperse yolk–shell nanoparticles with porous shells.It is important to note that the yolk-shell nanoparticles prepared by this method possess highly uniform particle size and porous silica shells, and the pore size and the shell thickness can be tuned in a certain range. The method can encapsulate cores of different size (less than 700 nm), shape and composition, including SiO2 spheres, Au particles or magnetic Fe3O4 particles, within the shells. It is also possible to create a hierarchical structure composed of a mesoporous SiO2 nanoparticle within the mesoporous shell. These nanostructures show a three-step release pattern for the model drug, ibuprofen. The yolk-shell materials such as those developed in this work could lead to new avenues for developing nanoreactors, drug/gene/DNA/siRNA delivery vehicles, as well as photonic crystals.
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