Total Aqueous Synthesis of Au@Cu2−xS Core–Shell Nanoparticles for In Vitro and In Vivo SERS/PA Imaging-Guided Photothermal Cancer Therapy

Qian Lv, Huan Min, Dong Ban Duan, Wei Fang, Gui Ming Pan, Ai Guo Shen, Qu Quan Wang, Guangjun Nie, Ji Ming Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


Both accurate tumor navigation and nanostructures with high photothermal (PT) conversion efficiency are important but remain challenging to achieve in current biomedical applications. This study reports an anion exchange-based facile and green approach for synthesizing Au@Cu2−xS core–shell nanoparticles (NPs) in an aqueous system. In addition to the PT effect of the suggested NPs, the surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is also significantly improved due to the tailored localized surface plasmon resonance coupling between the Au metal core and the Cu2−xS semiconductor shell. Using an epitaxial strategy, Au@Cu2O NPs are first obtained by the in situ reduction of cupric hydroxide on a cresyl violet acetate-coated Au core; then, Au@Cu2−xS NPs are obtained via anion exchange between the S2− and Cu2O shell. Both the Cu/S atomic ratio and the Cu2−xS shell thickness can be adjusted conveniently. Hence, the ideal integration of the plasmonic Au core and Cu2−xS shell into a single unit is conducive not only to highly efficient PT conversion but also to the construction of a SERS-based navigator. This new type of SERS-guided NP, with enhanced photoacoustic signals, is an important candidate for both accurate tumor navigation and nondestructive PT treatment guided in vivo by two modes of optical imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1801257
JournalAdvanced Healthcare Materials
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 24 2019


  • Au@CuS core–shell nanoparticles (NPs)
  • navigation treatment
  • photothermal therapy (PTT)
  • plasmonic enhancement
  • surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmaceutical Science

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