Photothermal Effect of Gold Nanoparticles as a Nanomedicine for Diagnosis and Therapeutics

Panangattukara Prabhakaran Praveen Kumar, Dong Kwon Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have received great attention for various medical applications due to their unique physicochemical properties. AuNPs with tunable optical properties in the visible and near-infrared regions have been utilized in a variety of applications such as in vitro diagnostics, in vivo imaging, and therapeutics. Among the applications, this review will pay more attention to recent developments in diagnostic and therapeutic applications based on the photothermal (PT) effect of AuNPs. In particular, the PT effect of AuNPs has played an important role in medical applications utilizing light, such as photoacoustic imaging, photon polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and hyperthermia therapy. First, we discuss the fundamentals of the optical properties in detail to understand the background of the PT effect of AuNPs. For diagnostic applications, the ability of AuNPs to efficiently convert absorbed light energy into heat to generate enhanced acoustic waves can lead to significant enhancements in photoacoustic signal intensity. Integration of the PT effect of AuNPs with PCR may open new opportunities for technological innovation called photonic PCR, where light is used to enable fast and accurate temperature cycling for DNA amplification. Additionally, beyond the existing thermotherapy of AuNPs, the PT effect of AuNPs can be further applied to cancer immunotherapy. Controlled PT damage to cancer cells triggers an immune response, which is useful for obtaining better outcomes in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors or vaccines. Therefore, this review examines applications to nanomedicine based on the PT effect among the unique optical properties of AuNPs, understands the basic principles, the advantages and disadvantages of each technology, and understands the importance of a multidisciplinary approach. Based on this, it is expected that it will help understand the current status and development direction of new nanoparticle-based disease diagnosis methods and treatment methods, and we hope that it will inspire the development of new innovative technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2349
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Sept

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • cancer immunotherapy
  • gold nanoparticles
  • nanomedicine
  • photonic PCR
  • photothermal effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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