Non-thermal plasma technology is one of those techniques that suffer relatively little from diffusion limits, slow kinetics, and complex geometries compared to more traditional liquid-based chemical surface modification techniques. Combined with a lack of solvents, preservation of the bulk properties, and fast treatment times; it is a well-liked technique for the treatment of materials for biomedical applications. In this book chapter, a review will be given on what the scientific community determined to be essential to obtain appropriate scaffolds for tissue engineering and how plasma scientists have used non-thermal plasma technology to accomplish this. A distinction will be made depending on the scaffold fabrication technique, as each technique has its own set of specific problems that need to be tackled. Fabrication techniques will include traditional fabrication methods, rapid prototyping, and electrospinning. As for the different plasma techniques, both plasma activation and grafting/polymerization will be included in the review and linked to the in-vitro/in-vivo response to these treatments. The literature review itself is preceded by a more general overview on cell communication, giving useful insights on how surface modification strategies should be developed.
Part of the book: Plasma Science and Technology
The ability of non-equilibrium plasmas to modify surfaces has been known for many years. And a promising way to perform surface modifications without altering the bulk properties is plasma polymerization since this technique is versatile and can be applied to a wide range of materials. Plasma polymer films usually show good biocompatibility when compared to classical biomaterials. The possible biomedical use of plasma polymers motivates the study of their behavior during storage and in aqueous environment. Therefore, it is of major importance to understand the change of properties of these plasma polymers over time and when in contact with certain fluids. Recently, plasma polymer gradients (surfaces that display a change in at least one physicochemical property over distance) have attracted significant attention from the biomedical filed where the interaction of cells with a material surface is of major interest. This chapter discusses biomaterial functionalization via plasma polymerization focusing on their use in the biomedical field as well as their aging and stability behaviors. Plasma polymer gradients as valuable tools to investigate cell-surface interactions will also be reviewed.
Part of the book: Polymerization