Investigation of inorganic nano-structures for photothermal applications

Significant research effort has been made towards the development of nanoscale materials for targeted cancer hyperthermia.  This approach relies first on engineering the nanomaterials to bind selectively to cancer tissue by designing the morphology and surface of the material to enhance permeability and uptake. Near-infrared lasers are used to heat the particles to create local thermal damage that hinders angiogenesis and DNA-repair within tumor tissue. Gold nanoparticles have strong near-infrared surface plasmon absorption which leads to substantial heating of subcutaneous tumors. It is possible to superheat aqueous buffers to over 200°C above the boiling point of water at atmospheric pressure due to extremely large Young-Laplace surface pressures arising from the interplay between tremendous curvature on surface tension at nanometer length scales. Research in the Pauzauskie lab is focused on the design, synthesis, and experimental characterization of biocompatible nanomaterials for targeted photothermal therapies.

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