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Pure Appl. Chem., 2011, Vol. 83, No. 1, pp. 233-241

Published online 2010-11-20

Biofunctionalization of gold nanorods*

Sung-Yeon Hwang and Andrea R. Tao*

Department of NanoEngineering, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr., MC 0448, La Jolla, CA 92093-0448, USA

Abstract: Gold nanorods (NRs) are promising nanomaterials for biotechnology innovations that include photoassisted drug delivery, gene therapy, noninvasive cancer detection, and ultrasensitive biodetection. Owing to their unique geometry, Au NRs exhibit surface plasmon (SP) modes in the near-infrared (IR) wavelength range—ideal for carrying out optical measurements in biological fluids and tissue. Because NR interactions highly depend on the chemical nature of their solvent-accessible interface, it is necessary to carry out specific postsynthetic chemical modifications of the Au surface to create NRs that are biocompatible and biofunctional. In this review, we discuss various NR surface chemistries that have successfully enabled the integration of Au NRs into biological environments, as well as current challenges in designing the biofunctional NR interface for in vivo applications.
*Pure Appl. Chem. 83, 1–252 (2011). A collection of invited, peer-reviewed articles by former winners of the IUPAC Prize for Young Chemists, in celebration of the International Year of Chemistry 2011.