Biomedical Microdevices

, 20:71 | Cite as

Porous silicon-poly(ε-caprolactone) film composites: evaluation of drug release and degradation behavior

  • Nelli K. Bodiford
  • Steven J. P. McInnes
  • Nicolas H. Voelcker
  • Jeffery L. CofferEmail author


This work focuses on an evaluation of novel composites of porous silicon (pSi) with the biocompatible polymer ε-polycaprolactone (PCL) for drug delivery and tissue engineering applications. The degradation behavior of the composites in terms of their morphology along with the effect of pSi on polymer degradation was monitored. PSi particles loaded with the drug camptothecin (CPT) were physically embedded into PCL films formed from electrospun PCL fiber sheets. PSi/PCL composites revealed a release profile of CPT (monitored via fluorescence spectroscopy) in accordance with the Higuchi release model, with significantly lower burst release percentage compared to pSi microparticles alone. Degradation studies of the composites, using gravimetric analysis, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), carried out in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) under simulated physiological conditions, indicated a modest mass loss (15%) over 5 weeks due to pSi dissolution and minor polymer hydrolysis. DSC results showed that, relative to PCL-only controls, pSi suppressed crystallization of the polymer film during PBS exposure. This suppression affects the evolution of surface morphology during this exposure that, in turn, influences the degradation behavior of the polymer. The implications of the above properties of these composites as a possible therapeutic device are discussed.


Porous silicon Polycaprolactone Camptothecin Drug delivery Tissue engineering 



Financial support of this research by the Robert A. Welch Foundation is gratefully acknowledged (Grant P-1212). This work was performed in part at the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication (MCN) in the Victorian Node of the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryTexas Christian UniversityFort WorthUSA
  2. 2.University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Victorian Node of the Australian National Fabrication FacilityMelbourne Centre for NanofabricationClaytonAustralia
  4. 4.Drug Delivery, Disposition and Dynamics, Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical SciencesMonash UniversityParkvilleAustralia
  5. 5.Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)ClaytonAustralia

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