We recently demonstrated that liposome-supported plasmon resonant gold nanoshells are degradable into components of a size compatible with renal clearance, potentially enabling their use as multifunctional agents in applications in nanomedicine, including imaging, diagnostics, therapy, and drug delivery (Troutman et al., Adv. Mater. 2008, 20, 2604-2608). When illuminated with laser light at the wavelength matching their plasmon resonance band, gold-coated liposomes rapidly release their encapsulated substances, which can include therapeutic and diagnostic agents. The present research demonstrates that release of encapsulated agents from gold-coated liposomes can be spectrally controlled by varying the location of the plasmon resonance band; this spectral tuning is accomplished by varying the concentration of gold deposited on the surface of liposomes. Furthermore, the amount of laser energy required for release is qualitatively explained using the concept of thermal confinement (Jacques, Appl. Opt. 1993, 32(3), 2447-2454). Overlapping thermal confinement zones can be avoided by minimizing the laser pulse width, resulting in lower energy requirements for liposomal content release and less global heating of the sample. Control of heating is especially important in drug delivery applications, where it enables spatial and spectral control of delivery and prevents thermal damage to tissue.