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Anal Chem. 2011 Feb 15;83(4):1321-7. doi: 10.1021/ac102532w. Epub 2011 Jan 19.

Photothermal nanoblade for large cargo delivery into mammalian cells.

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  • 1Department of Electrical Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


It is difficult to achieve controlled cutting of elastic, mechanically fragile, and rapidly resealing mammalian cell membranes. Here, we report a photothermal nanoblade that utilizes a metallic nanostructure to harvest short laser pulse energy and convert it into a highly localized explosive vapor bubble, which rapidly punctures a lightly contacting cell membrane via high-speed fluidic flows and induced transient shear stress. The cavitation bubble pattern is controlled by the metallic structure configuration and laser pulse duration and energy. Integration of the metallic nanostructure with a micropipet, the nanoblade generates a micrometer-sized membrane access port for delivering highly concentrated cargo (5 × 10(8) live bacteria/mL) with high efficiency (46%) and cell viability (>90%) into mammalian cells. Additional biologic and inanimate cargo over 3-orders of magnitude in size including DNA, RNA, 200 nm polystyrene beads, to 2 μm bacteria have also been delivered into multiple mammalian cell types. Overall, the photothermal nanoblade is a new approach for delivering difficult cargo into mammalian cells.

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