Medicine utilizes implants to repair damaged hips, knees and teeth. Various methods have been developed to provide a roughened implant surface that promotes bone growth. These methods include sandblasting and chemical etching however; high costs and potential toxicity have left the medical device industry looking for better alternatives in preparing artificial joints and teeth for implant.
At Michigan Tech, researchers have developed a system of low cost electrodes (replaces platinum electrodes) that can be positioned to create titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanotubes on an irregular surface. The resulting nanotubes have an outside diameter of approximately 120nm and a wall thickness of 20nm. The tubes can be etched in a close-packed configuration or free standing configuration.
This technology offers many advantages over current medical implant, surface preparation, methods. TiO2 nanotubes create an irregular surface conducive to osteoblast colonization and eliminate the need for highly toxic hydrofluoric acid in the etching process. This technology provides a programmable method for electrochemically etching irregular surface shapes and low cost TiO2 nanotubes replace expensive platinum electrodes with a cheaper electrode material. The TiO2 nanotube technology is ideally suited for irregular surfaces, is safer than other etching processes and improves the implant surface.
A utility patent application has been filed for this technology and exclusive license terms are available. For more information contact John Diebel in the Office of Innovation and Industry Engagement, 906-487-1082.