General and programmable synthesis of hybrid liposome/metal nanoparticles

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Science Advances  16 Dec 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 12, e1601838
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601838


Hybrid liposome/metal nanoparticles are promising candidate materials for biomedical applications. However, the poor selectivity and low yield of the desired hybrid during synthesis pose a challenge. We designed a programmable liposome by selective encoding of a reducing agent, which allows self-crystallization of metal nanoparticles within the liposome to produce stable liposome/metal nanoparticles alone. We synthesized seven types of liposome/monometallic and more complex liposome/bimetallic hybrids. The resulting nanoparticles are tunable in size and metal composition, and their surface plasmon resonance bands are controllable in visible and near infrared. Owing to outer lipid bilayer, our liposome/Au nanoparticle shows better colloidal stability in biologically relevant solutions as well as higher endocytosis efficiency than gold nanoparticles without the liposome. We used this hybrid in intracellular imaging of living cells via surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, taking advantage of its improved physicochemical properties. We believe that our method greatly increases the utility of metal nanoparticles in in vivo applications.

  • general and programmable synthesis
  • hybrid liposome/metal nanoparticles
  • programmable liposome
  • self-crystallization
  • improved physicochemical properties
  • intracellular SERS and imaging

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