Upconverting nanocomposites with combined photothermal and photodynamic effects†
Lanthanide-doped upconverting nanoparticles (UCNPs) have been studied for diverse biomedical applications due to their inherent ability to convert near-infrared (NIR) excitation light to higher energies (spanning the ultraviolet, visible, and NIR regions). To explore additional functionalities, rational combination with other optically active nanostructures may lead to the development of new multimodal nanoplatforms with theranostic (therapy and diagnostic) capabilities. Here, we develop a nanocomposite consisting of NaGdF4:Er3+, Yb3+ UCNPs, mesoporous silica (SiO2), gold nanorods (GNRs) and a photosensitizer, with integrated functionalities including luminescence imaging, photothermal generation, nanothermometry and photodynamic effects. Under 980 nm irradiation, GNRs and UCNPs are simultaneously excited due to the overlap between the surface plasmon resonance of the GNRs and the absorption of the UCNPs leading to plasmonic enhancement of the upconverted luminescence, while concomitantly creating a temperature gradient. The temperature increase can be determined from the intensity ratio of the upconverted green emission of the UCNPs. Finally, a photosensitizer, zinc phthalocyanine, was loaded into the mesoporous SiO2. Upon laser irradiation, the upconverted visible light subsequently activates the photosensitizer to release reactive oxygen species. The multifunctional GNR@SiO2@UCNPs nanocomposites showed strong luminescence signal when incubated in HeLa cervical cancer cells, making them ideal bioprobes for future theranostic applications.
- This article is part of the themed collections: International Year of the Periodic Table : Lanthanides for Precision Therapy and Beyond and Nanoscale 10th Anniversary: Top Authors