Chitosan/Silver Nanoparticle/Graphene Oxide Nanocomposites with Multi-Drug Release, Antimicrobial, and Photothermal Conversion Functions

Zheng Su, Daye Sun, Li Zhang, Miaomiao He, Yulin Jiang, Bronagh Millar, Paula Douglas, Davide Mariotti, Paul Maguire, Dan Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
58 Downloads (Pure)


In this work, we designed and fabricated a multifunctional nanocomposite system that consists of chitosan, raspberry-like silver nanoparticles, and graphene oxide. The room temperature atmospheric pressure microplasma (RT-APM) process provides a rapid, facile, and environmentally-friendly method for introducing silver nanoparticles into the composite system. Our composite can achieve a pH controlled single and/or dual drug release. Under pH 7.4 for methyl blue loaded on chitosan, the drug release profile features a burst release during the first 10 h, followed by a more stabilized release of 70–80% after 40–50 h. For fluorescein sodium loaded on graphene oxide, the drug release only reached 45% towards the end of 240 h. When the composite acted as a dual drug release system, the interaction of fluorescein sodium and methyl blue slowed down the methyl blue release rate. Under pH 4, both single and dual drug systems showed a much higher release rate. In addition, our composite system demonstrated strong antibacterial abilities against E. coli and S. aureus, as well as an excellent photothermal conversion effect under irradiation of near infrared lasers. The photothermal conversion efficiency can be controlled by the laser power. These unique functionalities of our nanocomposite point to its potential application in multiple areas, such as multimodal therapeutics in healthcare, water treatment, and anti-microbials, among others.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2351
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support we received from China Scholarship Council (201806340039, 201606170059), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2020M671893), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (WK9110000155), and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) (EP/P00394X/1, EP/M015211/1 and EP/R008841/1).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Antibacterial
  • Chitosan
  • Drug delivery
  • Graphene oxide
  • Nanocomposites
  • Photothermal conversion
  • Silver nanoparticles


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