Light: a magical tool for controlled drug delivery

Yu Tao, Hon Fai Chan, Bingyang Shi, Mingqiang Li*, Kam W. Leong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

110 Citations (Scopus)


Light is a particularly appealing tool for on-demand drug delivery due to its noninvasive nature, ease of application, and exquisite temporal and spatial control. Great progress is achieved in the development of novel light-driven drug delivery strategies with both breadth and depth. Light-controlled drug delivery platforms can be generally categorized into three groups: photochemical, photothermal, and photoisomerization-mediated therapies. Various advanced materials, such as metal nanoparticles, metal sulfides and oxides, metal–organic frameworks, carbon nanomaterials, upconversion nanoparticles, semiconductor nanoparticles, stimuli-responsive micelles, polymer- and liposome-based nanoparticles are applied for light-stimulated drug delivery. In view of the increasing interest in on-demand targeted drug delivery, the development of light-responsive systems with a focus on recent advances, key limitations, and future directions is reviewed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2005029
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number49
Early online date9 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • drug delivery
  • light
  • photochemical
  • photoisomerization
  • photothermal


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