Carbon-based nanomaterials serve as a type of smart material for photo-triggered disease theranostics. The inherent physicochemical properties of these nanomaterials facilitate their use for less invasive treatments. This review summarizes the properties and applications of materials including fullerene, nanotubes, nanohorns, nanodots and nanographenes for photodynamic nanomedicine in cancer and antimicrobial therapies. Carbon nanomaterials themselves do not usually act as photodynamic therapy (PDT) agents owing to the high hydrophobicity, however, when the surface is passivated or functionalized, these materials become great vehicles for PDT. Moreover, conjugation of carbonaceous nanomaterials with the photosensitizer (PS) and relevant targeting ligands enhances properties such as selectivity, stability, and high quantum yield, making them readily available for versatile biomedical applications.
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