Nanoplasmonic optical antennas for life sciences and medicine

Hongbao Xin, Bumseok Namgung, Luke P. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Surface plasmons — light-induced oscillations of electrons at the surface of nanoplasmonic metallic nanoparticles or nanostructures — can be used in a wide range of applications. Such nanoplasmonic optical antennas can be interfaced with biological systems to answer diverse questions in life sciences and to solve problems in translational medicine. In particular, nanoplasmonics provide insight and solutions for intracellular exploration, gene delivery and regulation, and rapid precision molecular diagnostics. In this Review, we examine the development of nanoplasmonic optical antennas for in vitro and in vivo applications. We evaluate the use of optical nanoplasmonic antennas for the optical detection of mRNA in living cells and for in vivo molecular imaging. We also discuss nanoplasmonic optical antennas for in vivo gene delivery and the optical control of gene circuits. Finally, we highlight the use of nanoplasmonic-based molecular diagnostic systems for ultrafast precision medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-243
Number of pages16
JournalNature Reviews Materials
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2018

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© 2018, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature.


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