The Thin Films lab aims to enhance the bioactivity of existing surfaces using PVD methods to deposit metallic, ceramic and glassy coatings on a wide variety of substrates. With the ability to coat 3D structures, 2D surfaces and powders, our coating methods offer fine control over coating thickness and morphology.
Our current research projects focus on the use of degradable doped glass coatings for antimicrobial effects, and also the use of passivating surfaces to prevent the degradation of magnesium to unlock its potential as a medical material. Our team is experienced in the characterisation of these coatings along with cytocompatibility and antimicrobial assessments.
Sacrificial phosphate-based coatings for in vivo biofilm prevention
Biofilm infections present a serious problem globally and are a leading cause of antibiotic resistance. Disrupting the attachment of bacteria to the surfaces of implants would prevent the initial formation of the biofilm. However, implants are also required to interact with human cells which precludes traditional antifouling surfaces from being used.
Phosphate based glasses have been shown to be both degradable in solution and cytocompatible. Magnetron Sputtering offers the opportunity to coat phosphate glass thin films onto a wide variety of medical materials which once implanted will be protected from bacterial attachment by the rapidly degrading coating until the immune system and perioperative antibiotics are able to subdue to infection. My research aims to demonstrate the potential of these coatings.
Multiphase materials for biomedical applications
My project encompasses a combination of wet chemical and physical vapour deposition (PVD) methodologies, in order to provide highly-tailorable, antibacterial/bioactive surfaces that can be applied to a wide range of biomedical materials, including biodegradable metals (e.g. Mg) and polymers.
This novel technique will allow tailoring of medical device surfaces, such as fracture fixation devices, to be achieved utilising a simple processing methodology. The surfaces explored will focus on titanate structures, which can facilitate both in vitro and in vivo ion-exchange reactions, to obtain either apatite formation or bacterial inhibition, to result in improved bone-bonding or infection negation. Finally, these surfaces will be investigated regarding their corrosion rate alteration for Mg, to provide optimal degradation profiles.