Silver nanoplates are introduced as a new photoacoustic contrast agent that can be easily functionalized for molecular photoacoustic imaging in vivo. Methods are described for synthesis, functionalization, and stabilization of silver nanoplates using biocompatible ("green") reagents. Directional antibody conjugation to the nanoplate surface is presented along with proof of molecular sensitivity in vitro with pancreatic cancer cells. Cell viability tests show the antibody-conjugated silver nanoplates to be nontoxic at concentrations up to 1 mg/mL. Furthermore, the silver nanoplates' potential for in vivo application as a molecularly sensitive photoacoustic contrast agent is demonstrated using an orthotopic mouse model of pancreatic cancer. Results of these studies suggest that the synthesized silver nanoplates are well suited for a host of biomedical imaging and sensing applications.
© 2011 American Chemical Society