Chemistry, photophysics, and biomedical applications of gold nanotechnologies
Dreaden, Erik Christopher
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Gold nanoparticles exhibit a combination of physical, chemical, optical, and electronic properties unique from all other nanotechnologies. These structures can provide a highly multifunctional platform with which to diagnose and treat diseases and can dramatically enhance a variety of photonic and electronic processes and devices. The work herein highlights some newly emerging applications of these phenomena as they relate to the targeted diagnosis and treatment of cancer, improved charge carrier generation in photovoltaic device materials, and strategies for enhanced spectrochemical analysis and detection. Chapter 1 introduces the reader to the design, synthesis, and molecular functionalization of gold nanotechnologies, and provides a framework from which to discuss the unique photophysical properties and applications of these nanoscale materials and their physiological interactions in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 discusses ongoing preclinical research in our lab investigating the use of near-infrared absorbing gold nanorods as photothermal contrast agents for laser ablation therapy of solid tumors. In Chapter 4, we present recent work developing a novel strategy for the targeted treatment of hormone-dependent breast and prostate tumors using multivalent gold nanoparticles that function as highly selective and potent endocrine receptor antagonist chemotherapeutics. In Chapter 5, we discuss a newly-emerging tumor-targeting strategy for nanoscale drug carriers which relies on their selective delivery to immune cells that exhibit high accumulation and infiltration into breast and brain tumors. Using this platform, we further investigate the interactions of nanoscale drug carriers and imaging agents to a transmembrane protein considered to be the single most prevalent and single most important contributor to drug resistance and the failure of chemotherapy. Chapter 6 presents work from a series of studies exploring enhanced charge carrier generation and relaxation in a hybrid electronic system exhibiting resonant interactions between photovoltaic device materials and plasmonic gold nanoparticles. Chapter 7 concludes by presenting studies investigating the contributions from so-called “dark” plasmon modes to the spectrochemical diagnostic method known as surface enhanced Raman scattering.