PVP-coated Sb2Se3 nanorods as nanotheranostic agents for photoacoustic imaging and photothermal therapy in NIR-I bio-windows†
Antimony selenide (Sb2Se3) as a simple, low toxicity, low-cost p-type semiconductor material with broad absorbance ranging from the UV to the NIR region has many potential applications in photovoltaic, thermoelectric, and phase-change memory devices. Owing to these excellent properties, Sb2Se3 nanorods were firstly synthesized with triphenylantimony and dibenzyldiselenide under solvothermal conditions. In order to enhance the biocompatibility of the Sb2Se3 nanorods, polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) was coated onto the surface of the Sb2Se3 nanorods to form PVP-coated Sb2Se3 nanorods. The cell viability of PVP-coated Sb2Se3 nanorods toward Hep-2 cells was assessed for 24 h using a Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) assay. The results showed that Hep-2 cells treated with PVP-coated Sb2Se3 nanorods were alive at a concentration as high as 100 μg mL−1 in the absence of NIR irradiation. In vivo assessment confirmed that PVP-coated Sb2Se3 nanorods exhibited excellent photoacoustic imaging and PTT performance, which yielded complete ablation of tumors after laser irradiation (808 nm or 980 nm) in the NIR-I bio-window.