• core–shell;
  • cancer;
  • fluorescence;
  • gold;
  • multifunctional particles;
  • photothermal conversion;
  • tumor cells


Multifunctional Ag@Au@ phenol formaldehyde resin (PFR) particles loaded with folic acids (FA) have been designed for killing tumor cells through photothermy conversion under the irradiation of near-infrared (NIR) light. Possessing the virtue of good fluorescence, low toxicity, and good targeting, the nanocomposite consists of an Ag core, an Au layer, a PFR shell, and folic acids on the PFR shell. The Ag@PFR core–shell structure can be prepared with a simple hydrothermal method after preheating. We then filled the PFR shell with a layer of Au by heating and modified the shell with polyelectrolyte to change its surface charge state. To capture tumor cells actively, FA molecules were attached onto the surface of the Ag@Au@PFR particles in the presence of 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethly aminopropyl) carbodiimide (EDAC) and N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS). Owing to the excellent property of Au NPs and Ag NPs as photothermal conversion agents, the Ag@Au@ PFR@FA particles can be utilized to kill tumor cells when exposed to NIR light.