Template-Free Growth of Novel Hydroxyapatite Nanorings: Formation Mechanism and Their Enhanced Functional Properties

Template-free, single crystalline novel hydroxyapatite (HAp) nanorings with an inner diameter of 70 nm were grown by a combined high gravity and hydrothermal approach. Nanodisks were suggested to be formed by oriented aggregation and Ostwald ripening of mostly calcium pyrophosphate nanospheres prepared initially by the high gravity method with a stepwise increase of flow rate of phosphate solution. The prolonged hydrothermal treatment of nanodisks appeared to induce the nanoring formation via acid penetration along the dislocations in HAp nanodisks. The presence of edge dislocations in the central region of nanodisks was confirmed by high resolution transmission electron microscopy. The mechanical evaluation of high molecular weight polyethylene (HMWPE) composite with various shaped HAp nanocrystals and in vitro cellular analysis of HAp nanocrystals revealed that mechanical and bioactive performances improved with an increase of the specific surface area of HAp nanocrystals. The enhanced mechanical performance of HMWPE/HAp nanoring composite and the excellent cell viability for HAp nanorings are attributed to the superior interface bonding and cell activity, respectively, both of which are enhanced by the high specific surface area.