Multifunctional NaYF4:Yb,Er@PE3@Fe3O4 nanocomposites for magnetic-field-assisted upconversion imaging guided photothermal therapy of cancer cells
Even though various theranostic agents have been exploited for effective cancer therapy over the years, appropriate design and fabrication of theranostic agents with simple composition, convenient preparation, high theranostic efficiency and minimal side effects on non-cancer cells are still urgently needed. Herein, multifunctional NaYF4:Yb,Er@polyelectrolyte (PE3)@Fe3O4 nanocomposites, with upconversion luminescence, superparamagnetism and photothermal performance, are prepared by a layer-by-layer self-assembly technique. Compared with Fe3O4 nanoparticles (NPs), the nanocomposites exhibited nearly 2-fold strong absorption at 808 nm, and thus resulted in an enhanced near-infrared photothermal effect. With the assistance of an external magnetic field, a high sensitivity of upconversion fluorescence imaging and a low cancer cell viability of 13.9% were achieved under 808 nm laser irradiation. It is expected that multifunctional NaYF4:Yb,Er@PE3@Fe3O4 nanocomposites would pave the way toward promoting the clinical applications of theranostic nanomaterials.