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Laser Processing of Biomaterials

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Front. Phys. | doi: 10.3389/fphy.2018.00016

Laser surface texturing of polymers for biomedical applications

 Antonio Riveiro1*, Anthony L. Maçon2, Jesús del Val1, Rafael Comesaña3 and  Juan Pou1
  • 1Applied Physics Department, University of Vigo, Spain
  • 2Department of Materials, Imperial College London, United Kingdom
  • 3Materials Engineering, Applied Mechanics, and Construction Dpt., University of Vigo, Spain

Polymers are materials widely used in biomedical science because of their biocompatibility, and good mechanical properties (which, in some cases, are similar to those of human tissues); however, these materials are, in general, chemically and biologically inert. Surface characteristics, such as topography (at the macro-, micro, and nanoscale), surface chemistry, surface energy, charge or wettability are interrelated properties, and they cooperatively influence the biological performance of materials when used for biomedical applications. They regulate the biological response at the implant/tissue interface (e.g., influencing the cell adhesion, cell orientation, cell motility, etc.). Several surface processing techniques have been explored to modulate these properties for biomedical applications. Despite their potentials, these methods have limitations that prevent their applicability. In this regard, laser-based methods, in particular laser surface texturing (LST), can be an interesting alternative. Different works have showed the potentiality of this technique to control the surface properties of biomedical polymers and enhance their biological performance; however, more research is needed to obtain the desired biological response. This work provides a general overview of the basics and applications of LST for the surface modification of polymers currently used in the clinical practice (e.g. PEEK, UHMWPE, PP, etc.). The modification of roughness, wettability, and their impact on the biological response is addressed to offer new insights on the surface modification of biomedical polymers.

Keywords: laser surface texturing, Surface modification, Wettability, surface roughness, implants, cell response.

Received: 13 Nov 2017; Accepted: 09 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Narayana R. Desai, University of Hyderabad, India

Reviewed by:

Khoi T. Nguyen, Vietnam National University of HCMC, Vietnam
Krishna Chaitanya Vishnubhatla, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, India
Sai Santosh Kumar Raavi, Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad, India  

Copyright: © 2018 Riveiro, Maçon, del Val, Comesaña and Pou. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Antonio Riveiro, University of Vigo, Applied Physics Department, EEI-Lagoas-Marcosende E36310, Vigo, Pontevedra, Spain, ariveiro@uvigo.es