Staff directory Zhi Li

Zhi Li

Fellowship Doctoral Student
China Scholarship Council
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)
Magnetic Nanostructures



  • Magnetically amplified photothermal therapies and multimodal imaging with magneto-plasmonic nanodomes

    Li Z., Aranda-Ramos A., Güell-Grau P., Tajada J.L., Pou-Macayo L., Lope Piedrafita S., Pi F., G. Roca A., Baró M.D., Sort J., Nogués C., Nogués J., Sepúlveda B. Applied Materials Today; 12: 430 - 440. 2018. 10.1016/j.apmt.2018.07.008.

    Nanotherapies require new ways for controlling and improving the delivery of the therapeutic agents to the site of action to maximize their efficacy and minimize the side effects. This control is particularly relevant in photothermal treatments to reduce the required light intensity and amount of injected nanoparticles, and to minimize necrotic cell deaths. Here we present a novel concept for multifunctional nanobiomedical agents: magneto-plasmonic (MP) nanodomes for magnetically guided and amplified photothermal therapies and as contrast agents for multimodal imaging. The MP nanodomes are composed of a Fe/Au bilayer semi-shell deposited on a 100 nm diameter fluorescent polystyrene nanosphere, which gather a unique combination of straightforward functionalization, high colloidal stability, very strong ferromagnetic behavior and intense optical absorption efficiency in the near infrared. We show that the photothermal conversion efficiency of the Fe/Au nanodomes with high Fe ratios is substantially larger than pure plasmonic Au nanodomes and the state-of-art plasmonic nanoheaters, i.e. Au nanorods and nanoshells, by merging strong optical absorption, minimized scattering and low optical anisotropy. Remarkably, the effective magnetophoretic concentration of the Fe/Au nanodomes at the illumination region enables large local increase of the optically induced temperature rise. The Fe semishell also provides very intense T2 contrast in nuclear magnetic resonance, which is at least 15-fold larger per particle than commercial iron oxide contrast agents. Moreover, the fluorescent polystyrene nanosphere and the Au semishell integrate valuable fluorescent and X-ray contrasts, respectively, which we have used to assess the nanodomes internalization by cancer cells. The MP nanodomes are nontoxic to cells even in the case of magnetophoretic local enrichment with initially high particle concentration (100 μg/mL). Remarkably, we demonstrate amplified local photothermal treatments by the magnetic enrichment of the nanodomes at the illumination region, which enables reaching nearly 100% reduction of cell viability with low particle concentration (10 μg/mL) and mild NIR laser intensity (5 W/cm2). These results highlight the high potential of MP nanodomes for magnetically guided and amplified photothermal therapies. © 2018 Elsevier Ltd

  • Simultaneous Local Heating/Thermometry Based on Plasmonic Magnetochromic Nanoheaters

    Li Z., Lopez-Ortega A., Aranda-Ramos A., Tajada J.L., Sort J., Nogues C., Vavassori P., Nogues J., Sepulveda B. Small; 14 (24, 1800868) 2018. 10.1002/smll.201800868.

    A crucial challenge in nanotherapies is achieving accurate and real-time control of the therapeutic action, which is particularly relevant in local thermal therapies to minimize healthy tissue damage and necrotic cell deaths. Here, a nanoheater/thermometry concept is presented based on magnetoplasmonic (Co/Au or Fe/Au) nanodomes that merge exceptionally efficient plasmonic heating and simultaneous highly sensitive detection of the temperature variations. The temperature detection is based on precise optical monitoring of the magnetic-induced rotation of the nanodomes in solution. It is shown that the phase lag between the optical signal and the driving magnetic field can be used to detect viscosity variations around the nanodomes with unprecedented accuracy (detection limit 0.0016 mPa s, i.e., 60-fold smaller than state-of-the-art plasmonic nanorheometers). This feature is exploited to monitor the viscosity reduction induced by optical heating in real-time, even in highly inhomogeneous cell dispersions. The magnetochromic nanoheater/thermometers show higher optical stability, much higher heating efficiency and similar temperature detection limits (0.05 °C) compared to state-of-the art luminescent nanothermometers. The technological interest is also boosted by the simpler and lower cost temperature detection system, and the cost effectiveness and scalability of the nanofabrication process, thereby highlighting the biomedical potential of this nanotechnology. © 2018 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


  • Enhanced thermoelectric performance of solution-derived bismuth telluride based nanocomposites via liquid-phase Sintering

    Zhang C., de la Mata M., Li Z., Belarre F.J., Arbiol J., Khor K.A., Poletti D., Zhu B., Yan Q., Xiong Q. Nano Energy; 30: 630 - 638. 2016. 10.1016/j.nanoen.2016.10.056. IF: 11.553

    Bismuth telluride based thermoelectric materials show great promise in electricity generation from waste heat and solid-state refrigeration, but improving their conversion efficiency with economical approaches for widespread use remains a challenge. An economical facile bottom-up approach has been developed to obtain nanostructured powders, which are used to build bulk thermoelectric materials. Using excess tellurium as sacrificial additive to enable liquid-phase sintering in the spark plasma sintering process, the lattice and bipolar contributions to the thermal conductivity are both greatly reduced without compromising too much the power factor, which leads to the achievement of high figure of merit (ZT) in both n-type and p-type bismuth telluride based nanocomposites. The ZT values are 1.59±0.16 for p-type Bi0.5Sb1.5Te3 and 0.98±0.07 for n-type Bi2Te2.7Se0.3 at 370 K, which are significantly high for bottom-up approaches. These results demonstrate that solution-chemistry approaches as facile, scalable and low-energy-intensive ways to achieve nanopowders, combined with liquid-phase sintering process, can open up great possibilities in developing high-performance low-price thermoelectric bulk nanocomposites. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd