Intensive efforts have been put into the use of gold nanoparticles (GNPs) for the enhancement of hyperthermia using laser in recent years since the groundbreaking work of Hirsh et al.(1) using gold nanoshells (GNS). Both in vitro (2), and in vivo (3) studies show promising results. For example, GNS, a special kind of GNP, are being manufactured and are in clinical trials (Nanospectra Bioscience, Inc). While the data is compelling, unfortunately the fundamentals of GNP heating are not entirely understood. For example, there are large discrepancies in the experimentally measured photothermal efficiency of GNPs (4, 5). Furthermore, lumped models of GNP heating in solution, by using small volume of GNP solution (4, 5), or stirring the solution (6), neglecting the variation of heat absorption throughout a system require improvement. In reality, the GNPs will attenuate the laser beam as it passes through the GNP host medium. GNPs at different locations will absorb different amount of laser energy and hence have different heat generation.

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