Nano Research

Article Title

Traditional Chinese medicine molecule-assisted chemical synthesis of fluorescent anti-cancer silicon nanoparticles


traditional Chinese medicine, fluorescent silicon nanoparticles, anti-cancer


ABSTRACT Fluorescent silicon (Si) nanoparticles (SiNPs) hold great promise for innumerable biological and biomedical applications owing to their unique optical properties and negligible toxicity. In this article, we present a new traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) molecule-assisted chemical synthetic strategy, suitable for the production of multifunctional small-sized (diameter: ~ 3.7 nm) SiNPs in a facile and rapid (~ 10 min) manner. Of particular significance, the resultant SiNPs simultaneously exhibited robust and stable fluorescence (photoluminescence quantum yield (PLQY): ~ 15%), as well as intrinsic anti-cancer efficacy with excellent selectivity toward cancer cells. Taking advantage of these unique merits, we further employed these novel fluorescent anti-cancer SiNPs (AC-SiNPs) for the fluorescence tracking and treatment of tumors, demonstrating long-term (~ 18 days) inhibition of tumor growth in tumor-bearing mice. Consequently, we believe this new TCM-assisted chemical synthetic method is highly attractive for designing silicon nanostructures featuring multiple functionalities, and we suggest these AC-SiNPs as novel promising tools for providing visual evidence of TCM-based cancer treatment.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press