Carbon-coated gold nanorods: A facile route to biocompatible materials for photothermal application

Yusuf Valentino Kaneti, Chuyang Chen, Minsu Liu, Xiaochun Wang, Jia-Lin Yang, Robert Allen Taylor, Xuchuan Jiang, Aibing Yu

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41 Citations (Scopus)


Gold nanorods and their core–shell nanocomposites have been widely studied because of their well-defined anisotropy and unique optical properties and applications. This study demonstrates a facile hydrothermal synthesis strategy for generating carbon coating on gold nanorods (AuNRs@C) under mild conditions (<200 °C), where the carbon shell is composed of polymerized sugar molecules (glucose). The structure and composition of the produced core–shell nanocomposites were characterized using advanced microscopic and spectroscopic techniques. The functional properties, particularly the photothermal and biocompatibility properties of the produced AuNRs@C, were quantified to assess their potential in photothermal hyperthermia. These AuNRs@C were tested in vitro (under representative treatment conditions) using near-infrared (NIR) light irradiation. It was found that the AuNRs produced here exhibit exemplary heat generation capability. Temperature changes of 10.5, 9, and 8 °C for AuNRs@C were observed with carbon shell thicknesses of 10, 17, and 25 nm, respectively, at a concentration of 50 μM, after 600 s of irradiation with a laser power of 0.17 W/cm2. In addition, the synthesized AuNRs@C also exhibit good biocompatibility toward two soft tissue sarcoma cell lines (HT1080, a fibrosarcoma; and GCT, a fibrous histiocytoma). The cell viability study shows that AuNRs@C (at a concentration of <0.1 mg/mL) core–shell particles induce significantly lower cytotoxicity on both HT1080 and GCT cell lines, as compared with cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB)-capped AuNRs. Furthermore, similar to PEG-modified AuNRs, they are also safe to both HT1080 and GCT cell lines. This biocompatibility results from a surface full of −OH or −COH groups, which are suitable for linking and are nontoxic Therefore, the AuNRs@C represent a viable alternative to PEG-coated AuNRs for facile synthesis and improved photothermal conversion. Overall, these findings open up a new class of carbon-coated nanostructures that are biocompatible and could potentially be employed in a wide range of biomedical applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25658 - 25668
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Issue number46
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Gold nanorods
  • Carbon-coated gold nanorods
  • Core−shell nanocomposites
  • Photothermal treatment
  • Cytotoxicity

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