Femtosecond Laser-Processing of Pre-Anodized Ti-Based Bone Implants for Cell-Repellent Functionalization

Nanomaterials (Basel). 2021 May 20;11(5):1342. doi: 10.3390/nano11051342.


Microstructures and nanostructures can be used to reduce the adhesion of the cells on the auxiliary material. Therefore, the aim of our work was to fabricate laser-induced hierarchical microstructures and nanostructures by femtosecond laser-treatment (wavelength 1040 nm, pulse length 350 fs, repetition rates in the kHz range) to reduce the cell adhesion. Additionally, surface chemistry modification by optimized electrochemical anodization was used to further reduce the cell adhesion. For testing, flat plates and bone screws made of Ti-6Al-4V were used. Bone-forming cells (human osteoblasts from the cell line SAOS-2) were grown on the bone implants and additional test samples for two to three weeks. After the growth period, the cells were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). While earlier experiments with fibroblasts had shown that femtosecond laser-processing followed by electrochemical anodization had a significant impact on cell adhesion reduction, for osteoblasts the same conditions resulted in an activation of the cells with increased production of extracellular matrix material. Significant reduction of cell adhesion for osteoblasts was only obtained at pre-anodized surfaces. It could be demonstrated that this functionalization by means of femtosecond laser-processing can result in bone screws that hinder the adhesion of osteoblasts.

Keywords: cell activation; cell-repellent surfaces; laser-induced microstructures and nanostructures; medical implants; ultrafast laser-processing.