Materials Science

Capturing the Fine Details

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Science  02 Sep 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5740, pp. 1459
DOI: 10.1126/science.309.5740.1459c

Titanium has long been used as an orthopedic implant material because it is strong and relatively light. Many studies have shown in vitro that when the surface oxide layer is rough, osteoblasts (the bone-forming cells) deposit more calcium. However, these studies have not determined whether the enhanced activity is due to the surface roughness, crystallinity, crystal phase, or surface chemistry of the nanostructured material.

Pallin et al.generated surface replicas using poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) to capture the roughness of conventional and nanostructured titania. In experiments with osteoblasts, both adhesion and proliferation were greater on the nanostructured titania and the PLGA replicas. The higher number of surface atoms, defects, and surface electron delocalizations may influence the initial cell-surface interactions and thus lead to the improved adhesion. An examination of samples from a bovine femur showed roughness values comparable to that of nano-structured titania, supporting the role of texture in affecting bone growth. — MSL

Nanotechnology 16, 1828 (2005).

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