Spectroscopic study of the loading of cationic porphyrins by carbon nanohorns as high capacity carriers of photoactive molecules to cells†
Carbon nanomaterials are attractive candidates for drug delivery due to their high surface area, ease of functionalisation and biocompatibility. This work describes the spectroscopic monitoring of the loading capacity of oxidised carbon nanohorns for two cationic porphyrins. Addition of the COOH functionalised carbon nanohorns to both meso-tetra(4-N-methylpyridyl) free base (H2TMPyP4) and platinum (PtTMPyP4) porphyrin in aqueous solution results in hypochromism of the Soret band and quenching of the porphyrin emission. These changes are used to monitor the non-covalent binding interactions with the nanohorn surface and determine the surface loading. The colloidal stability of the nanohorns to biologically relevant solution environments as a function of loading is also reported. Finally, we demonstrate photoactivated cell death upon uptake of a colloidally stable PtTMPyP4 CNH hybrid.