Imaging the transient heat generation of individual nanostructures with a mechanoresponsive polymer

Nat Commun. 2017 Nov 14;8(1):1498. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-01614-0.


Measuring the localized transient heat generation is critical for developing applications of nanomaterials in areas of photothermal therapy (PTT), drug delivery, optomechanics and biological processes engineering. However, accurate thermometry with high spatiotemporal resolution is still a challenge. Here we develop a thermosensitive polymer-capped gold nanorod (AuNRs@pNIPAAm), which has temperature-dependent local surface plasmon resonance spectra due to the submolecular conformational change of pNIPAAm molecules. We measure the conformational dynamics on individual gold nanorods at the milliseconds level by the developed spatiotemporal resolution plasmonic spectroscopy (SRPS) and find that it has a fast (<4 ms), linear and reversible mechanoresponse to temperature changes as small as 80 mK. The rapid and highly sensitive thermosensitive AuNRs@pNIPAAm opens a new way to achieve spatiotemporal thermometry for potential applications in PTT and other biological research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't