Article

Plasmonics

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 595-601

First online:

Pluronic Triblock Copolymer Encapsulated Gold Nanorods as Biocompatible Localized Plasmon Resonance-Enhanced Scattering Probes for Dark-Field Imaging of Cancer Cells

  • Douglas GohAffiliated withBio-Optical Imaging Group, Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR)
  • , Tianxun GongAffiliated withSchool of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Nanyang Technological University
  • , U. S. DinishAffiliated withBio-Optical Imaging Group, Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR) Email author 
  • , Kaustabh Kumar MaitiAffiliated withBio-Optical Imaging Group, Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR)
  • , Chit Yaw FuAffiliated withBio-Optical Imaging Group, Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR)
  • , Ken-Tye YongAffiliated withSchool of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Nanyang Technological University Email author 
  • , Malini OlivoAffiliated withBio-Optical Imaging Group, Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR)Bio-photonics group, School of Physics, National University of Ireland Email author 

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Abstract

Gold nanorods (GNR) are synthesized using cetylmethylammonium bromide (CTAB) surfactants which function as structure-directing agents. However, CTAB forms a tightly bound cationic bilayer on GNR surface with the cationic trimethylammonium head group exposed to the aqueous media, which is known to be highly toxic in vitro and in vivo. Pluronic is a non-ionic triblock polymer, which can associate with CTAB and form stable CTAB–polymer complexes due to hydrophobic interactions. In this work, two types of Pluronic triblock copolymers were used to encapsulate GNR to reduce their cytotoxicity and improve colloidal and optical stability for biological applications. These formulations were characterized by UV–vis absorption spectra analysis, transmission electron microscopy, cell viability studies, differential interference contrast microscopy and dark-field imaging.

Keywords

Gold nanorods Plasmonic resonance Pluronic encapsulation CTAB–polymer complexes Cytotoxicity Colloidal and optical stability