Inorganic Nanocages are hollow, porous gold nanoparticles ranging in size from 10 to over 150 nm. They are created by reacting silver nanoparticles with chloroauric acid (HAuCl4) in boiling water. While gold nanoparticles absorb light in the visible spectrum of light (at about 550 nm), gold nanocages absorb light in the near-infrared, where biological tissues absorb the least light. Because they are also biocompatible, gold nanocages are promising as a contrast agent for optical coherence tomography, which uses light scattering in a way analogous to ultrasound to produce in-vivo images of tissue with resolution approaching a few micrometres. A contrast agent is required if this technique will be able to image cancers at an early, more treatable stage. Gold nanocages also absorb light and heat up, killing surrounding cancer cells. The Xia group at Washington University, the original inventors of the nanocages, has functionalized nanocages with cancer-specific antibodies so they specifically attach to cancer cells.
Jingyi Chen; Fusayo Saeki; Benjamin J. Wiley; Hu Cang; Michael J. Cobb; Zhi-Yuan Li; Leslie Au; Hui Zhang; Michael B. Kimmey; Xingde Li; Younan Xia (2005). "Gold Nanocages: Bioconjugation and Their Potential Use as Optical Imaging Contrast Agents". Nano Lett. 5 (3): 473–7. PMID 15755097. doi:10.1021/nl047950t.
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