Delivery of molecules into cells using carbon nanoparticles activated by femtosecond laser pulses
Prerona Chakravarty,Wei Qian, Mostafa A. El-Sayed & Mark R. Prausnitz
Nature Nanotechnology 5,607–611 (2010)
A major barrier to drug and gene delivery is crossing the cell's plasma membrane. Physical forces applied to cells via electroporation1, ultrasound2 and laser irradiation3, 4, 5, 6 generate nanoscale holes in the plasma membrane for direct delivery of drugs into the cytoplasm. Inspired by previous work showing that laser excitation of carbon nanoparticles can drive the carbon-steam reaction to generate highly controlled shock waves7, 8, 9, 10, we show that carbon black nanoparticles activated by femtosecond laser pulses can facilitate the delivery of small molecules, proteins and DNA into two types of cells. Our initial results suggest that interaction between the laser energy and carbon black nanoparticles may generate photoacoustic forces by chemical reaction to create transient holes in the membrane for intracellular delivery.