Gold nanoshells or nanorods are newly developed nanotechnology in laser photothermal therapy for cancer treatments in recent years [1–10]. Gold nanoshells consists of a solid dielectric nanoparticle core (∼100 nm) coated by a thin gold shell (∼10 nm). Gold nanorods have a diameter of 10 nm and an aspect ratio of approximately four. Nanorods may be taken up by tumors more readily than nanoshells due to nanorods’ smaller size. By varying the geometric ratio, both nanoshells and nanorods can be tuned to have strong absorption and scattering to a specific laser wavelength. Among a wide range of laser wavelengths, the near infrared (NIR) laser at ∼800 nm is most attractive to clinicians due to its deep optical penetration in tissue. Therefore, the tissue would appear almost “transparent” to the 800 nm laser light before the laser reaches the nanoshells or nanorods in tumors, with minimal laser energy wasted by the tissue without the nanostructures. The laser energy absorbed in an area congregating by the nanostructures is transferred to the surrounding tissue by heat conduction. This approach not only achieves targeted delivery of laser energy to the tumor, but also maximally concentrates a majority of the laser energy to the tumor region.

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