NSF EPSCoR Program Harnesses Non-thermal Plasma Processing for Nano-structuring 3D Printed Tissue-Scaffolds: 

Dr. Vinoy Thomas, Materials Science and Engineering

A UAB team led by Dr. Vinoy Thomas, Department of Materials Science & Engineering, has surface engineered 3D Printed polymeric soft biomaterial scaffolds by an in-situ robust synthesis of nanoparticles using low temperature dusty plasma.

The proof-of-concept communication published in ACS Applied Nano Materials, reports a rapid and easy method for nanoparticles (SiNp) synthesis from a liquid precursor into dusty plasma and deposition of them onto 3D printed polymer. “Non-thermal plasma has emerged as a viable method for surface engineering soft materials and biomaterials”, says Dr. Vineeth Vijayan, (first author of the publication), “and we have successfully utilized non-thermal plasma for making super-hydrophilic and blood-friendly materials surfaces in our previous publication in Journal of Materials Chemistry”.

As part of the NSF supported EPSCoR collaborative CPU2AL program, the new method we reported has many appealing attributes:

    1. It is a single step greener and cost effective process
    2. The radiofrequency plasma reactor can be an ideal scalable technology for industries to produce and modify the surface of various biomedical scaffolds/devices with SiNp, and
    3. This method can simultaneously modify the 3D printed scaffolds with SiNp for biomedical applications (bone tissue engineering) and also sterilize them.

The future aspects of this present work will deal with (I) functionalization and attachment of SiNp with biochemical moieties by using volatile amino acids in the plasma phase and (II) strategies for preparation titanium dioxide nanoparticles and nanowires via plasma process which in turn could be used for decontaminate corona virus during the current COVID-19 pandemic.