Owing to their electromagnetic properties, tunability and biocompatibility, gold nanorods are being investigated as multifunctional probes for a range of biomedical applications. However, detection beyond the reach of traditional fluorescence and two-photon approaches and quantitation of their concentration in biological tissue remain challenging tasks in microscopy. Here, we show how the size and aspect ratio that impart gold nanorods with their plasmonic properties also make them a source of entropy. We report on how depolarization can be exploited as a strategy to visualize gold nanorod diffusion and distribution in biologically relevant scenarios ex vivo, in vitro and in vivo. We identify a deterministic relation between depolarization and nanoparticle concentration. As a result, some of the most stringent experimental conditions can be relaxed, and susceptibility to artefacts is reduced, enabling microscopic and macroscopic applications.
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This work was supported in part by National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant P41EB-015903, Koch Institute Support Grant P30-CA14051 from the National Cancer Institute (Swanson Biotechnology Center), and a Core Center Grant P30-ES002109 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. S.N.B. is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. A.A. was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. T.P.P. was supported by NIH R01CA214913 and NIH R01HL128168. K.C. was supported by Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Awards at the Scientific Interface, the Searle Scholars Program, Packard award in Science and Engineering, NARSAD Young Investigator Award, and NCSOFT Cultural Foundation.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Lippok, N., Villiger, M., Albanese, A. et al. Depolarization signatures map gold nanorods within biological tissue. Nature Photon 11, 583–588 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2017.128
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