Near Infrared-Triggered Liposome Cages for Rapid, Localized Small Molecule Delivery

Jeong Eun Shin, Maria O. Ogunyankin, Joseph A. Zasadzinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Photolabile chelating cages or protecting groups need complex chemical syntheses and require UV, visible, or two-photon NIR light to trigger release. Different cages have different solubilities, reaction rates, and energies required for triggering. Here we show that liposomes containing calcium, adenosine triphosphate, or carboxyfluorescein are tethered to plasmon-resonant hollow gold nanoshells (HGN) tuned to absorb light from 650–950 nm. Picosecond pulses of near infrared (NIR) light provided by a two-photon microscope, or by a stand-alone laser during flow through microfluidic channels, trigger contents release with spatial and temporal control. NIR light adsorption heats the HGN, inducing vapor nanobubbles that rupture the liposome, releasing cargo within milliseconds. Any water-soluble molecule can be released at essentially the same rate from the liposome-HGN. By using liposomes of different composition, or HGN of different sizes or shapes with different nanobubble threshold fluences, or irradiating on or off resonance, two different cargoes can be released simultaneously, one before the other, or in a desired ratio. Calcium release from liposome-HGN can be spatially patterned to crosslink alginate gels and trap living cells. Liposome-HGN provide stable, biocompatible isolation of the bioactive compound from its surroundings with minimal interactions with the local environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1706
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 3 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).


  • Adenosine Triphosphate/chemistry
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Calcium/chemistry
  • Drug Delivery Systems/methods
  • Drug Liberation
  • Fluoresceins/chemistry
  • Gold/chemistry
  • Humans
  • Infrared Rays
  • Liposomes/chemistry
  • Microfluidics/methods
  • Nanoshells/chemistry

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.


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