Iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs)-carbon (C) hybrid zero-dimensional nanostructures normally can be categorized into core-shell and yolk-shell architectures. Although IONP-C is a promising theranostic nanoagent, the in vivo study has surprisingly been less described. In addition, little effort has strived toward the fabrication of yolk-shell compared to the core-shell structures. In this context, we synthesized a yolk-shell type of the silica-coated hollow carbon nanospheres encapsulating IONPs cluster, which can be dispersed in aqueous solution for systemic studies in vivo, via the preparation involving the mixed micellization, polymerization/hollowing, sol-gel (hydration-condensation), and pyrolysis processes. Through a surface modification of the polyethylenimine followed by the sol-gel process, the silica shell coating was able to escape from condensing and sintering courses resulting in aggregation, due to the annealing. Not limited to the well-known functionalities in magnetical targeting and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging for IONP-C hybrid structures, we expanded this yolk-shell NPs as a near-infrared (NIR) light-responsive echogenic nanoagent giving an enhanced ultrasound imaging. Overall, we fabricated the NIR sensitive yolk-shell IONP-C to activate ultrasound imaging and photothermal ablation under magnetically and MR imaging guided therapy.
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