A bifunctional (mesoporous, luminescent) composite was realized by depositing a YVO4:Eu3+ phosphor layer onto the surface of MCM-48 spheres via a simple sol–gel process. This composite was employed as a drug delivery/release carrier using captopril (CapH2) as a model drug. X-ray diffraction (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), N2 adsorption/desorption and photoluminescence spectra were employed to characterize the as-prepared materials. The results indicated that the bifunctional composite possesses an ordered mesoporous structure and strong red luminescence of Eu3+. A drug release test revealed that the composite has favorable drug release properties. Additionally, the CapH2-loaded composite still shows the red luminescence under UV irradiation. Also, the emission intensity of Eu3+ increases with an increase in the cumulative released amount of CapH2, making the extent of drug release easy to identify, track and monitor by the change of luminescence during the release process and disease therapy.
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