Monodispersed plasmonic Prussian blue nanoparticles for zero-background SERS/MRI-guided phototherapy †
Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided phototherapy are new breakthroughs in cancer therapeutics due to their complementary advantages, such as enhanced imaging spatial resolution and depth. Herein, we synthesized monodispersed Prussian blue-encapsulated gold nanoparticles (Au@PB NPs), in which the plasmonic gold core plus coordination polymer of cyanide (CN) and iron ions coincidently become a superexcellent contrast agent for both MRI and zero-background SERS imaging. PB, as a signal source for MR and SERS, can be easily assembled onto single Au NPs, of which iron ions possess high relaxation efficiency for in vivo MRI, e.g., the longitudinal and transversal relaxation efficiency values are 0.86 mM−1 s−1 (r1) and 5.42 mM−1 s−1 (r2), respectively. Furthermore, with the help of the plasmonic enhancement of the gold core, the CN groups exhibit a specific, strong, and stable (3S) SERS emission in the Raman-silent region (1800–2800 cm−1), allowing accurate in vivo imaging at the single or even subcellular level. More importantly, PB has remarkable absorption properties in the near infrared region, and can be used as a photosensitizer for photothermal (PT) and photodynamic (PD) therapy simultaneously. Hence, the ideal integration of a plasmonic Au core and PB shell into a single monodispersed MR-guided NP, with zero-background SERS signals, is an important candidate for both tumor navigation and in situ PT/PD treatment guided by SERS/MR dual-mode imaging.