Atomically resolved tissue integration
Journal article, 2014
In the field of biomedical technology, a critical aspect is the ability to control and understand the integration of an implantable device in living tissue. Despite the technical advances in the development of biomaterials, the elaborate interplay encompassing materials science and biology on the atomic level is not very well understood. Within implantology, anchoring a biomaterial device into bone tissue is termed osseointegration. In the most accepted theory, osseointegration is defined as an interfacial bonding between implant and bone; however, there is lack of experimental evidence to confirm this. Here we show that atom probe tomography can be used to study the implant-tissue interaction, allowing for three-dimensional atomic mapping of the interface region. Interestingly, our analyses demonstrated that direct contact between Ca atoms and the implanted titanium oxide surface is formed without the presence of a protein interlayer, which means that a pure inorganic interface is created, hence giving experimental support to the current theory of osseointegration. We foresee that this result will be of importance in the development of future biomaterials as well as in the design of in vitro evaluation techniques.
atom probe tomography