The tailoring of surfaces with nanostructured thin films, where interfacial properties can be controlled at the nanoscale, offers multiple possibilities for biological applications. The design of thin films with appropriate properties to induce desired biological responses at cell level requires the convergence of research from physics, chemistry, material science, biology, and medicine. Here, we will discuss the main surface properties that determine the behavior of isolated cells, cell colonies, and tissues interacting with a material. Surface roughness, morphological features, stiffness, wettability, chemical nature, and protein-surface interaction characteristics, as well as spatiotemporal heterogeneities, are expected to contribute to the desired biological performance of a material. A brief review in relation to thin films for biological applications will be presented. We will focus on examples in which basic rather simple processes play a key role in determining the triggering of a particular biological cell phenotype.
Part of the book: Multilayer Thin Films