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Gold nanoparticles for biomedical applications

Authors: Stina Guldbrand, Vladimir Kirejev, Marica B. Ericson

Plasmonic noblemetal nanoparticles, particularly gold nanoparticles (AuNP), are presently explored for a wide variety of uses within the biological field, e.g. as contrast enhancers, or drug delivery devices [1-4]. The optical features of the nanoparticles are strongly dependent on their size and shape[2]. For example, AuNPs in the size 10 -20 nm exhibit a bandgap of 2.4 eV, which is not present for bulk gold. This is a quantum mechanics effect due to the band structure of AuNPs, giving rise to the characteristic color of the AuNPs in solution.

AuNPs can be functionalized with antigens and antibodies that can target for example cancer cells. By attaching drug nanocarriers to same nanoparticles the multimodal target specific drug nanocarriers can be created as illustrated in Figure 2. [5]. AuNPs are also explored as a source for local rapid temperature increase during the photothermal therapy [6, 7].

In our group we apply gold nanoparticles and explore their features with respect to multiphoton induced luminescence when combining with multiphoton microscopy. We have several ongoing collaborations in the field, e.g. Cline Scientific AB, Gothenburg, Assoc. Prof. Adela Ben-Yakar, Univ. Texas, Austin, and Prof. Antonio Vargas, Univ. Almeria, Spain.

Figure 2. Illustration of a drug delivery system based on functionalized gold nanoparticle.



1. Durr, N.J., et al., Two-photon luminescence imaging of cancer cells using molecularly targeted gold nanorods. Nano Lett, 2007. 7(4): p. 941-5.
2. Daniel, M.C. and D. Astruc, Gold nanoparticles: assembly, supramolecular chemistry, quantum-size-related properties, and applications toward biology, catalysis, and nanotechnology. Chem Rev, 2004. 104(1): p. 293-346.
3. Sperling, R.A., et al., Biological applications of gold nanoparticles. Chem Soc Rev, 2008. 37(9): p. 1896-908.
4. Nicholas, D., E. Marica, and B.-Y. Adela, Multiphoton Luminescence from Gold Nanoparticles as a Potential Diagnostic Tool for Early Cancer Detection, in Biosensors and Molecular Technologies for Cancer Diagnostics. 2012, Taylor & Francis. p. 307-322.
5. Kolhe, S. and K. Parikh, Application of nanotechnology in cancer: a review. Int J Bioinform Res Appl, 2012. 8(1-2): p. 112-25.
6. Jang, B., Y.S. Kim, and Y. Choi, Effects of gold nanorod concentration on the depth-related temperature increase during hyperthermic ablation. Small, 2011. 7(2): p. 265-70.
7. Vauthier, C., N. Tsapis, and P. Couvreur, Nanoparticles: heating tumors to death? Nanomedicine (Lond), 2011. 6(1): p. 99-109.


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