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The unique optical characteristics of a gold nanoshell motivate the application of nanoshell-based hyperthermia in drug delivery and cancer treatment. However, most of our understanding on energy absorption and heat transfer is still focused on individual particles, which may not be accurate for nanoshell aggregates in a real application due to the strong optical interaction of nanoshells. This paper investigates the relationship between the optical interaction and the interparticle distance in the visible and near-infrared regions by means of a finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method. The objective is to explore the energy transportation mechanism, which is critical for hyperthermia therapy. From the numerical simulation results of different forms of nanoshell aggregates, including individual nanoshells, 1-D chains, 2-D arrays, and 3-D clusters, it was found that the interparticle distance plays a crucial role from the maximal absorption point of view. The interparticle distance affects both field enhancement and surface plasmon resonance position. The accurate prediction of energy absorption also helps the way nanoshells are populated in the tumor cell so as to prevent heat damage to healthy tissues in clinic applications. In the case of 3-D clusters, the laser energy decays exponentially along the wave propagation, and the penetration depth greatly depends on the interparticle distance. The closer the nanoshells are placed, the shorter the penetration depth is. The maximal total length for the laser penetration through the shell of gold nanoparticles is about a few hundred to several nanometers. The actual penetration depth primarily depends not only on the interparticle distance, but also on the size of the nanoshells as well as other factors. Since the absorption energy is concentrated on the surface clusters of nanoparticles, heat transfer mechanisms in metal-nanoparticles-based hyperthermia will differ from that in other hyperthermia. The information obta- - ined from this paper will serve as a basis for further study of heat transfer in metal-nanoparticles-based hyperthermia.