Sub-10 nm Fe3O4@Cu2-xS core-shell nanoparticles for dual-modal imaging and photothermal therapy

Qiwei Tian, Junqing Hu, Yihan Zhu, Rujia Zou, Zhigang Chen, Shiping Yang, Runwei Li, Qianqian Su, Yu Han, Xiaogang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

544 Scopus citations


Photothermal nanomaterials have recently attracted significant research interest due to their potential applications in biological imaging and therapeutics. However, the development of small-sized photothermal nanomaterials with high thermal stability remains a formidable challenge. Here, we report the rational design and synthesis of ultrasmall (<10 nm) Fe3O 4@Cu2-xS core-shell nanoparticles, which offer both high photothermal stability and superparamagnetic properties. Specifically, these core-shell nanoparticles have proven effective as probes for T 2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging and infrared thermal imaging because of their strong absorption at the near-infrared region centered around 960 nm. Importantly, the photothermal effect of the nanoparticles can be precisely controlled by varying the Cu content in the core-shell structure. Furthermore, we demonstrate in vitro and in vivo photothermal ablation of cancer cells using these multifunctional nanoparticles. The results should provide improved understanding of synergistic effect resulting from the integration of magnetism with photothermal phenomenon, important for developing multimode nanoparticle probes for biomedical applications. © 2013 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8571-8577
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number23
StatePublished - May 30 2013

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This work was partially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 21171035, 50872020, 20971086), Key Grant Project of Chinese Ministry of Education (grant no. 313015), the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai-based "Innovation Action Plan" Project (grant no. 10JC1400100), and PhD Programs Foundation of Ministry of Education of China (grant no. 20110075110008). X.L. acknowledges the support by the National University of Singapore (R-143-000-427), the Singapore Ministry of Education (R-143-000-453), the Singapore-MIT Alliance, and the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (R-143-000-366). Y.H. acknowledges the support by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology for the baseline research funds.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Catalysis


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