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Photothermal Killing of Cancer Cells by the Controlled Plasmonic Coupling of Silica-Coated Au/Fe2O3 Nanoaggregates

Authors

  • Georgios A. Sotiriou,

    1. Particle Technology Laboratory, Institute of Process Engineering, Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
    2. Department of Environmental Health, Harvard University, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Fabian Starsich,

    1. Particle Technology Laboratory, Institute of Process Engineering, Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
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  • Athanasia Dasargyri,

    1. Drug Formulation & Delivery, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
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  • Moritz C. Wurnig,

    1. Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
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  • Frank Krumeich,

    1. Particle Technology Laboratory, Institute of Process Engineering, Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
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  • Andreas Boss,

    1. Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
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  • Jean-Christophe Leroux,

    1. Drug Formulation & Delivery, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
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  • Sotiris E. Pratsinis

    Corresponding author
    1. Particle Technology Laboratory, Institute of Process Engineering, Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
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Abstract

Tumor ablation by thermal energy via the irradiation of plasmonic nanoparticles is a relatively new oncology treatment. Hybrid plasmonic-superparamagnetic nanoaggregates (50–100 nm in diameter) consisting of SiO2-coated Fe2O3 and Au (≈30 nm) nanoparticles were fabricated using scalable flame aerosol technology. By finely tuning the Au interparticle distance using the SiO2 film thickness (or content), the plasmonic coupling of Au nanoparticles can be finely controlled bringing their optical absorption to the near-IR that is most important for human tissue transmittance. The SiO2 shell facilitates also dispersion and prevents the reshaping or coalescence of Au particles during laser irradiation, thereby allowing their use in multiple treatments. These nanoaggregates have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) capability as shown by measuring their r2 relaxivity while their effectiveness as photothermal agents is demonstrated by killing human breast cancer cells with a short, four minute near-IR laser irradiation (785 nm) at low flux (4.9 W cm-2).

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