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Controlled Anisotropic Growth of Hydroxyapatite by Additive-Free Hydrothermal Synthesis

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journal contribution
posted on 31.12.2020, 20:07 by Jordi Sans, Vanesa Sanz, Jordi Puiggalí, Pau Turon, Carlos Alemán
The synthesis of hydroxyapatite (HAp) with different shapes and sizes has attracted increasing attention because the applicability of this ceramic material depends on structure-properties relationships (i.e., the dimensions and morphology of HAp crystals determine properties such as the bioactivity and mechanical strength). Although different synthetic routes based on the addition of surfactants, organic modifiers, or dispersants have been proposed to control the growth of HAp crystals, many efforts are being devoted to simplify the whole process using simple parameters such as pH. However, the control of the morphology is still poor and shows low reproducibility. In this work, a new additive-free synthetic route, which is based on the hydrothermal method and the utilization of nonaqueous solvents, is proposed. The influence of the synthesis parameters such as pH, concentration of starting solutions, and the solvent on relevant features such as phase purity, crystallinity, crystallite size, and morphology has been examined using spectroscopic techniques, X-ray diffraction, and scanning electron microscopy. As a consequence, this work presents an easy and robust method based only on the use of organic solvent and the control of the pH that produces pure and crystalline HAp with a controlled shape and size. This method has been used to elucidate some of the key aspects of the crystal growth mechanism and to synthesize HAp crystals with different and well-defined shapes (e.g., belts, rods, flakes needle-like, or polymorph) and sizes, in a reproducible way.