Cu7.2S4 nanocrystals: a novel photothermal agent with a 56.7% photothermal conversion efficiency for photothermal therapy of cancer cells†
Copper sulphides, as a novel kind of photothermal agent for photothermal therapy (PTT) of cancer cells, have attracted increasing attention in recent years due to good photostability, synthetic simplicity, low toxicity and low cost. However, the unsatisfactory photothermal conversion efficiency of copper sulphides limits their bioapplication as PTT agents. Herein, Cu7.2S4 NCs with a mean size of ∼20 nm as a novel photothermal agent have been prepared by a simple thermal decomposition route. Moreover, these NCs exhibit strong near-infrared (NIR) absorption, good photostability and significant photothermal conversion efficiency up to 56.7% due to strong NIR absorption, good dispersity and suitable size. Importantly, these NCs can be very compatibly used as a 980 nm laser-driven PTT agent for the efficient PTT of cancer cells in vitro and in vivo.