In Situ Shape Control of Thermoplasmonic Gold Nanostars on Oxide Substrates for Hyperthermia-Mediated Cell Detachment

Gail A. Vinnacombe-Willson

Gail A. Vinnacombe-Willson

First Author

I am a PhD candidate in Materials Chemistry co-mentored by Prof. Paul S. Weiss (Chemistry & Biochemistry) and Dr. Steven J. Jonas (Pediatrics). My thesis project develops bottom-up synthesis, self-assembly, and soft-lithography for the scalable and precise functionalization of substrates with size- and shape-controlled plasmonic gold nanoparticles.


Gail A. Vinnacombe-Willson, Naihao Chiang, Leonardo Scarabelli,* Yuan Hu, Liv K. Heidenreich, Xi Li, Yao Gong, Derek T. Inouye, Timothy S. Fisher, Paul S. Weiss* and Steven J. Jonas*


We developed a bottom-up wet chemical synthesis for generating plasmonic gold nanostars directly on the internal walls of microfluidic capillaries. The nanostars efficiently convert light to heat, which was leveraged to probe and selectively release individual cells grafted on the nanostar-coated surface.
In Situ Shape Control of Thermoplasmonic Gold Nanostars on Oxide Substrates for Hyperthermia-Mediated Cell Detachment
Plasmonic gold nanostars grown in situ by seed-mediated synthesis in microfluidic channels are used to probe individual cells and to convert near-infrared light to heat to release them selectively..

ALMS state-of-the-art instrumentation, such as the SP8-MP-DIVE-FLIM, enabled us to trigger and monitor plasmonic heating of the nanostructures while simultaneously acquiring high-quality fluorescence confocal microscopy images of adherent cells. The highly experienced professional staff at ALMS assisted us through the design of the experiments and the customization of the setup. 

Gail A. Vinnacombe-Willson

Equipment used:

Leica Deep In Vivo Explorer SP8 DIVE

The SP8 DIVE Deep In Vivo Explorer is the first spectrally tunable solution for multicolor, multiphoton (MP) imaging. The SP8 DIVE provides spectral freedom. Equipped with 4Tune, a tunable, non-descanned detection system, the SP8 DIVE offers you unlimited flexibility and enables you to develop new multicolor deep in vivo experiments. The SP8 DIVE provides maximum penetration depth. The new Vario Beam Expander can be tuned for improved penetration depth depending on the animal model. Capture twice as much of the fluorescence signal with the 4Tune detection. Achieve more contrast and depth for multicolor, deep in vivo imaging.

Leica Confocal and Multiphoton TCS SP2 MP-FLIM

The Lecia TCS SP2 is a laser scanning spectral confocal microscope that provides superior image performance – more results in less time featuring:
  • Bright images
  • High experiment throughput
  • Flexible experiment setup
  • Simultaneous multi-spectral scanning
  • Application oriented optics
  • Dye finder function
  • Realtime XY scanning

Leica DM IL Inverted Microscope with Fluorescence and SPOT Camera System

All available contrast methods can be adapted to individual applications easily and quickly. Two condensers have been developed specifically for the Leica DM IL LED, which can be used for the entire magnification range of the respective contrast method. The high-resolution S40/0.45 condenser makes even tiny details of a specimen visible. Both condensers, the S40/0.45 and S80/0.30, allow for use of phase contrast up to the 63x objective as well as Integrated Modulation Contrast (IMC) up to the 40x objective.