Cancer theranosis using mono-disperse, mesoporous gold nanoparticles obtained via a robust, high-yield synthetic methodology†
Porous noble metal nanoparticles exhibit many attractive nanoplasmonic features, and these structures have potential applications in many fields. However, such applications have been hindered by a lack of synthetic methods with the ability to mass-produce mono-disperse nanoparticles. Current synthetic approaches to porous gold nanostructure fabrication involve galvanic replacement approaches or electrochemical deposition methods that are generally limited by stringent multi-step protocols and relatively low yields. Here, we introduce the facile synthesis of scalable, mono-disperse, mesoporous gold nanoparticles (MPGNs) using an acidic emulsification method. This method facilitates high synthetic yields (>93%) and tunable particle sizes (130–400 nm). MPGNs exhibit enhanced payloads of gadolinium (Gd), a contrast agent for magnetic resonance imaging. Additionally, they permit photo-thermal conversion under near-infrared light (NIR) irradiation due to the increased surface area to volume ratio and the unique, structure-mediated LSPR effect. Specifically, MPGNs fabricated using our method provided Gd payloads 2–4 orders of magnitude greater than previously reported theranostic nano-probes. We believe that our novel synthetic technique will not only contribute to large-scale production of homogeneous porous gold nanoparticles, but will also promote further research in porous noble metal nanostructures.