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Nanotechnology. 2009 Oct 28;20(43):434005. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/20/43/434005. Epub 2009 Oct 2.

The stabilization and targeting of surfactant-synthesized gold nanorods.

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Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005, USA.


The strong cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) surfactant responsible for the synthesis and stability of gold nanorod solutions complicates their biomedical applications. The critical parameter to maintain nanorod stability is the ratio of CTAB to nanorod concentration. The ratio is approximately 740,000 as determined by chloroform extraction of the CTAB from a nanorod solution. A comparison of nanorod stabilization by thiol-terminal PEG and by anionic polymers reveals that PEGylation results in higher yields and less aggregation upon removal of CTAB. A heterobifunctional PEG yields nanorods with exposed carboxyl groups for covalent conjugation to antibodies with the zero-length carbodiimide linker EDC. This conjugation strategy leads to approximately two functional antibodies per nanorod according to fluorimetry and ELISA assays. The nanorods specifically targeted cells in vitro and were visible with both two-photon and confocal reflectance microscopies. This covalent strategy should be generally applicable to other biomedical applications of gold nanorods as well as other gold nanoparticles synthesized with CTAB.

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