Translocation and fate of nanospheres in pheochromocytoma cells following exposure to synchrotron-sourced terahertz radiation

Publication Name

Journal of Synchrotron Radiation


The routes by which foreign objects enter cells is well studied; however, their fate following uptake has not been explored extensively. Following exposure to synchrotron-sourced (SS) terahertz (THz) radiation, reversible membrane permeability has been demonstrated in eukaryotic cells by the uptake of nanospheres; nonetheless, cellular localization of the nanospheres remained unclear. This study utilized silica core-shell gold nanospheres (AuSi NS) of diameter 50 ± 5 nm to investigate the fate of nanospheres inside pheochromocytoma (PC 12) cells following SS THz exposure. Fluorescence microscopy was used to confirm nanosphere internalization following 10 min of SS THz exposure in the range 0.5-20 THz. Transmission electron microscopy followed by scanning transmission electron microscopy energy-dispersive spectroscopic (STEM-EDS) analysis was used to confirm the presence of AuSi NS in the cytoplasm or membrane, as single NS or in clusters (22% and 52%, respectively), with the remainder (26%) sequestered in vacuoles. Cellular uptake of NS in response to SS THz radiation could have suitable applications in a vast number of biomedical applications, regenerative medicine, vaccines, cancer therapy, gene and drug delivery.

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access



First Page


Last Page


Funding Number




Link to publisher version (DOI)