NaYbF4@NaYFNanoparticles : Controlled Shell Growth and Shape-Dependent Cellular Uptake

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2327–2335
Journal / PublicationACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number2
Online published6 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2021


This study presents a controlled synthesis of NaYbF4@NaYF4 core-shell upconversion nanoparticles using the hot-injection technique. NaYF4 shells with tunable morphologies including long-rod, short-rod, and quasi-sphere are grown on identical NaYbF4 core nanoparticles by controlled injection of acetate or trifluoroacetate precursors. Mechanistic investigations reveal that anisotropic interfacial strain accounts for the preferential growth of shell layers along the c-axis. However, the strain effect can be offset by the fast injection of shell precursors, leading to nearly isotropic growth of NaYF4 shells over the NaYbF4 core nanoparticles. The core-shell nanoparticles are further modified with DNA molecules and incubated with adenocarcinomic human alveolar basal epithelial cells. Based on a combination of characterizations by flow cytometry and confocal microscopy, favorable cellular uptake and DNA delivery are observed for the quasi-sphere nanoparticles, owing to the high dispersibility and easy membrane wrapping. The method described here could be extended to synthesize other types of functional nanostructures for the study of morphology-dependent properties.

Research Area(s)

  • anisotropic strain, cellular uptake, epitaxial growth, surface modification, upconversion