Near-infrared nanosecond-pulsed laser-activated highly efficient intracellular delivery mediated by nano-corrugated mushroom-shaped gold-coated polystyrene nanoparticles†
Here, an efficient intracellular delivery of molecules with high cell viability is reported using nanosecond-pulsed laser-activated plasmonic photoporation, mediated by high-aspect-ratio nano-corrugated mushroom-shaped gold-coated polystyrene nanoparticles (nm-AuPNPs) at near-infrared wavelength. Upon pulsed laser illumination, nm-AuPNPs exhibit greater plasmonic extinction than spherical AuPNPs, which increase their energy efficiency and reduce the necessary illumination of light, effectively controlling cell damage and improving the delivery efficiency. Nm-AuPNPs exhibit surface plasmon absorption at near infrared region with a peak at 945 nm. Pulsed laser illumination at this plasmon peak triggers explosive nanobubbles, which create transient membrane pores, allowing the delivery of dyes, quantum dots and plasmids into the different cell types. The results can be tuned by laser fluence, exposure time, molecular size and concentration of nm-AuPNPs. The best results are found for CL1-0 cells, which yielded a 94% intracellular PI dye uptake and ∼100% cell viability at 35 mJ cm−2 laser fluence for 945 nm wavelength. Thus, the presented approach has proven to have an inevitable potential for biological cell research and therapeutic applications.