Porous YAG:Nd <sup>3+</sup> fibers with excitation and emission in the human "nIR optical window" as luminescent drug carriers

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Journal Article
Chemistry - A European Journal, 2012, 18 (9), pp. 2609 - 2616
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The design and preparation of luminescent drug carriers has been a prosperous area of research for many years. However, the excitation and/or emission wavelength of such luminescent drug carriers haven′t been optimized in the so-called human "near infrared (NIR) optical window", thus restricting their practical applications. Herein, we report the synthesis of electrospun porous YAG:Nd 3+ (neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet) fibers with both excitation and emission in the "NIR optical window" as luminescent drug carriers. The YAG:Nd 3+ porous fibers were characterized by SEM, TEM, XRD, scanning transmission electron microscopy-energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (STEM-EDX), and photoluminescence (PL). Ibuprofen (IBU) was used as a model drug to evaluate the drug-loading capacities and release profiles of the samples. BMSCs (bone mesenchymal stem cells) were used as model human cells to investigate cytotoxicity. Our results indicated that the YAG:Nd 3+ fibers possessed a fine, irregularly porous fibrous morphology with an average diameter of 378 nm. The florescence of the sample (1064 nm) could be excited over a wide wavelength range in the NIR region. During the release process of IBU in simulated body fluid (SBF), along with the dissolving of the drug, the solvent entered into the pores, and the emission intensity of the YAG:Nd 3+ fibers at 1064 nm decreased gradually, owing to a quenching effect of the hydroxy groups, thus provided an approach to track and monitor drug release. In addition, cytotoxicity investigations revealed that these YAG:Nd 3+ fibers were biocompatible with human cells. Consequently, the porous YAG:Nd 3+ fibers are a promising material for applications as advanced drug carriers. Fruit and fibers: Porous YAG:Nd 3+ fibers are suitable as luminescent drug carriers for in vivo applications owing to their huge specific surface area, large pore volume, affording both excitation and emission in the human "NIR optical window", and their ability to monitor the release of drugs. Copyright © 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
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