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Simple Control of Surface Topography of Gold Nanoshells by a Surfactant-less Seeded-Growth Method

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journal contribution
posted on 23.07.2014, 00:00 by Antonio Topete, Manuel Alatorre-Meda, Eva M. Villar-Álvarez, Adriana Cambón, Silvia Barbosa, Pablo Taboada, Víctor Mosquera
We report the synthesis of branched gold nanoshells (BGNS) through a seeded-growth surfactant-less method. This was achieved by decorating chitosan-Pluronic F127 stabilized poly­(lactic-co-gycolic) acid nanoparticles (NPs) with Au seeds (NP-seed), using chitosan as an electrostatic self-assembling agent. Branched shells with different degrees of anisotropy and optical response were obtained by modulating the ratios of HAuCl4/K2CO3 growth solution, ascorbic acid (AA) and NP-seed precursor. Chitosan and AA were crucial in determining the BGNS size and structure, acting both as coreductants and structure directing growth agents. Preliminary cytotoxicity experiments point to the biocompatibility of the obtained BGNS, allowing their potential use in biomedical applications. In particular, these nanostructures with “hybrid” compositions, which combine the features of gold nanoshells and nanostars showed a better performance as surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy probes in detecting intracellular cell components than classical smoother nanoshells.