• near-infrared light;
  • reversible valve;
  • controlled release;
  • gold nanorods;
  • mesoporous silica


A near-infrared (NIR) light-triggered nanocarrier is developed for intracellular controlled release with good stability, high nuclease resistance, and good biocompatibility. The nanocarrier consists of a gold nanorod core and mesoporous silica shell, capped with reversible single-stranded DNA valves, which are manipulated by switching between the laser on/off states. Upon laser irradiation, the valves of the nanocarrier open and the cargo molecules can be released from the mesopores. When the NIR laser is turned off, the valves close and the nanocarrier stops releasing the cargo molecules. The release amount of the cargo molecules can be controlled precisely by adjusting the irradiation time and the laser on-off cycles. Confocal fluorescence imaging shows that the nanocarrier can be triggered by the laser irradiation and the controlled release can be accomplished in living cells. Moreover, the therapeutic effect toward cancer cells can also be regulated when the chemotherapeutic drug doxorubicin is loaded into the nanocarrier. This novel approach provides an ideal platform for drug delivery by a NIR light-activated mechanism with precise control of area, time, and especially dosage.