Despite bismuth-based energy conversion nanomaterials having attracted extensive attention for nanomedicine, the nanomaterials suffer from major shortcomings including low tumor accumulation, long internal retention time, and undesirable photothermal conversion efficiency (PCE). To combat these challenges, bovine serum albumin and folic acid co-modified Bi2Se3 nanomedicine with rich selenium vacancies (abbreviated as VSe-BS) was fabricated for the second near-infrared (NIR-II) light-triggered photonic hyperthermia. More importantly, selenium vacancies on the crystal planes (0 1 5) and (0 1 11) of VSe-BS with similar formation energies could be distinctively observed via aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy images. The defect engineering endows VSe-BS with enhanced conductivity, making VSe-BS possess outstanding PCE (54.1%) in the NIR-II biowindow and desirable photoacoustic imaging performance. Tumor ablation studies indicate that VSe-BS possesses satisfactory therapeutic outcomes triggered by NIR-II light. These findings give rise to inspiration for further broadening the biological applications of defect engineering bismuth-based nanomaterials.

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