This chapter describes the significance of plasmonics to the field of intracellular delivery. We begin by discussing the significance of intracellular delivery, its applications in biology and medicine, and the currently available intracellular delivery techniques. Next, we discuss the field of plasmonic intracellular delivery, beginning with the discovery of optoporation. In optoporation, a laser beam is tightly focused onto a cell membrane to generate a transient pore, through which membrane-impermeable cargo can enter the cell. To improve the throughput of this technique, plasmonic materials were used for their ability to efficiently absorb laser light and generate spatially confined electric fields. Here, we describe the process by which plasmonic materials absorb laser light energy and generate plasmons. These plasmons transfer their energy to their surroundings, resulting in a rise in temperature and the subsequent creation of a bubble or shockwave. Finally, we describe how the properties of plasmons and plasmon-mediated effects facilitate cell poration for intracellular delivery.
Part of the book: Plasmonics