Nano Research

Article Title

Thermally confined shell coating amplifies the photoacoustic conversion efficiency of nanoprobes


photoacoustic nanoprobes, micromechanism, conversion efficiency, shell coating


ABSTRACT Efficient probes/contrast agents are highly desirable for good-performance photoacoustic (PA) imaging, where the PA signal amplitude of a probe is dominated by both its optical absorption and the conversion efficiency from absorbed laser energy to acoustic waves. Nanoprobes have a unique micromechanism of PA energy conversion due to the size effect, which, however, has not been quantitatively demonstrated and effectively utilized. Here, we present quantitative simulations of the PA signal production process for plasmonmediated nanoprobes based on the finite element analysis method, which were performed to provide a deep understanding of their PA conversion micromechanism. Moreover, we propose a method to amplify the PA conversion efficiency of nanoprobes through the use of thermally confined shell coating, which allows the active control of the conversion efficiency beyond that of conventional probes. Additionally, we deduced the dependence of the conversion efficiency on the shell properties. Gold-nanoparticles/polydimethylsiloxane nanocomposites were experimentally synthesized in the form of gel and microfilms to verify our idea and the simulation results agreed with the experiments. Our work paves the way for the rational design and optimization of nanoprobes with improved conversion efficiency.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press