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Synthesis, functionalization and characterization of rod-shaped gold nanoparticles as potential optical contrast agents

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Gold nanoparticles exhibit intense and narrow optical extinction bands due to the phenomenon of plasmon resonance making them useful as contrast agents for light-based imaging techniques. Localized heating results from the absorbed light energy, which shows potential for these particles in photothermal therapy as well. The bioconjugation of gold nanoparticles to appropriate antibodies targeted to tumors in vivo, could make highly selective detection and therapy of tumors possible. We have synthesised gold nanorods based on seed mediated protocols using two methods. The first method is based on using a mono-surfactant silver assisted method which produces gold nanorods having plasmon peaks between 670-850 nm within the “optical imaging and therapeutic window”. These nanorods have aspect ratios between 2.3 - 3.7. A second method is a silver assisted bi-surfactant method which produce nanorods with peaks in the range of 850-1100 nm having aspect ratios between 5-11. Typical concentrations of these particles in aqueous dispersions are in the range of lxlO10 - lxlO11 particles per mL. We have bioconjugated these gold nanorods with anti-HER2/neu mouse monoclonal antibodies (MAb). Since the as-prepared CT AB-stabilized nanorods were found to be toxic to SKBR3 cells, we decided to coat the gold nanorods with polyethylene glycol (PEG). Characterization and size estimation of the nanoparticles were performed using electron microscopies, optical spectroscopy and confocal microscopy. We present these results and implications for use of these nanoparticles for in vivo biomedical applications.

© 2007 SPIE

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