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Encapsulation of Noble Metal Nanoparticles through Seeded Emulsion Polymerization as Highly Stable Plasmonic Systems

: Scarabelli, Leonardo; Schumacher, Marius; Jimenez de Aberasturi, Dorleta; Merkl, Jan-Philip; Henriksen-Lacey, Malou; Milagres de Oliveira, Thais; Janschel, Marcus; Schmidtke, Christian; Bals, Sara; Weller, Horst; Liz-Marzán, Luis M.


Advanced Functional Materials 29 (2019), Nr.14, Art. 1809071, 11 S.
ISSN: 1616-301X
ISSN: 1616-3028
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG
LA 2901/1‐1
Fraunhofer IAP ()

The implementation of plasmonic nanoparticles in vivo remains hindered by important limitations such as biocompatibility, solubility in biological fluids, and physiological stability. A general and versatile protocol is presented, based on seeded emulsion polymerization, for the controlled encapsulation of gold and silver nanoparticles. This procedure enables the encapsulation of single nanoparticles as well as nanoparticle clusters inside a protecting polymer shell. Specifically, the efficient coating of nanoparticles of both metals is demonstrated, with final dimensions ranging between 50 and 200 nm, i.e., sizes of interest for bio-applications. Such hybrid nanocomposites display extraordinary stability in high ionic strength and oxidizing environments, along with high cellular uptake, and low cytotoxicity. Overall, the prepared nanostructures are promising candidates for plasmonic applications under biologically relevant conditions.