Nano-engineered Thin Films for Cell and Tissue-Contacting Applications
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Thin films of bioactive, biocompatible and biotherapeutic materials are crucial to many applications in bioengineering and medicine, but the susceptibility of these materials to thermal damage forbids the application of many conventional thin-film deposition technologies. Here we describe a novel approach to depositing thin nanostructured thin films using resonant mid-infrared laser ablation. This vapor-phase technique – which can be employed either in vacuum or in air or another ambient gas environment – circumvents many difficulties attendant to conventional liquid-phase deposition technologies, such as spin- and dip-coating. It makes possible, for example, multilayer deposition with sharp interfaces, and patterning by means of shadow-masking. Examples of the technique on bio-compatible and -degradable polymers, nucleic acids, fluoropolymers and functionalized nanoparticles are described. In conclusion, current developments in laser technology are discussed that can enable this thin-film deposition technique, now based on tunable, picosecond mid-infrared free-electron lasers, to be realized using mid-infrared solid-state, table-top laser sources with similar characteristics.
KeywordsPulsed laser deposition of nanostructured thin films Tunable picosecond, mid-infrared lasers Thin films of poly(ethylene glycol), poly(DL-lactide-co-glycolide), poly(tetrafluoroethylene), silica nanoparticles
It is a pleasure to acknowledge the expertise and insight of those who have contributed to much to the development of the RIR-PLD technique and to the understanding of the underlying mechanisms: Daniel D. M. Bubb (Rutgers University-Camden); James S. Horwitz, Michael R. Papantonakis and Duane L. Simonsen (Naval Research Laboratory); Erik Herz and Ulrich B. Wiesner (Cornell University); and Nicole L. Dygert, Stephen L. Johnson and Kenneth E. Schriver (Vanderbilt University). Financial support for the research at Vanderbilt has been provided by the Naval Research Laboratory, AppliFlex LLC and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research through the Medical Free-Electron Laser Program of the Department of Defense (F49620-01-1-0429), and is hereby gratefully acknowledged.
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