Advanced microscopy of star-shaped gold nanoparticles and their adsorption-uptake by macrophages

Germán Plascencia-Villa, Daniel Bahena, Annette R. Rodríguez, Arturo Ponce, Miguel José-Yacamán

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Metallic nanoparticles have diverse applications in biomedicine, as diagnostics, image contrast agents, nanosensors and drug delivery systems. Anisotropic metallic nanoparticles possess potential applications in cell imaging and therapy + diagnostics (theranostics), but controlled synthesis and growth of these anisotropic or branched nanostructures has been challenging and usually require use of high concentrations of surfactants. Star-shaped gold nanoparticles were synthesized in high yield through a seed mediated route using HEPES as a precise shape-directing capping agent. Characterization was performed using advanced electron microscopy techniques including atomic resolution TEM, obtaining a detailed characterization of nanostructure and atomic arrangement. Spectroscopy techniques showed that the particles have narrow size distribution, monodispersity and high colloidal stability, with absorbance into NIR region and high efficiency for SERS applications. Gold nanostars showed to be biocompatible and efficiently adsorbed and internalized by macrophages, as revealed by advanced FE-SEM and backscattered electron imaging techniques of complete unstained uncoated cells. Additionally, low voltage STEM and X-ray microanalysis revealed the ultra-structural location and confirmed stability of nanoparticles after endocytosis with high spatial resolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-250
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Metals and Alloys


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