Nd3+ sensitized dumbbell-like upconversion nanoparticles for photodynamic therapy application

Bing Xu, Xiao Zhang, Wenjuan Huang, Yijun Yang, Ying Ma, Zhanjun Gu, Tianyou Zhai, Yuliang Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Better tissue penetration and lower overheating problems mean 808 nm near-infrared laser excited upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) have potential in bioapplications. Dumbbell-like structured NaYF4:Yb/Er@NaNdF4:Yb nanoparticles are fabricated in this work and applied in photodynamic therapy (PDT). The epitaxial growth along the c axis attributed to the large structure mismatch of NaNdF4versus NaYF4 has been demonstrated to play a key role in the growth of the dumbbell structure. Due to better space separation in this structure, energy back-transfer from Er3+ to Nd3+ is prohibited partially, and the optimized Nd3+ doping concentration is up to 90% for a high UC emission intensity. PDT effects of these dumbbell-like structured UCNPs upon 808 nm laser irradiation were examined and compared with isotropic NaYF4:Yb/Er@NaYF4:Nd0.2 core-shell and NaYF4:Yb/Er@NaYF4:Nd0.2@NaYF4 core-shell-shell UCNPs. The results show that the dumbbell-like UCNPs are most effective in generating singlet oxygen (1O2) and killing cancer cells in PDT though their UC emission intensity is lower than that of the core-shell-shell UCNPs. This research presents a simple yet valid strategy to balance the UCL efficiency and FRET efficiency, which may lead to better PDT therapeutic effect for cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2776-2784
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry B
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 28 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)


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