American Chemical Society
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Ion Bombardment-Induced Nanoarchitectonics on Polyetheretherketone Surfaces for Enhanced Nanoporous Bioactive Implants

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-11-07, 05:30 authored by Teresa Aditya, Andrea Mesa-Restrepo, Ana Civantos, Ming-Kit Cheng, Camilo Jaramillo-Correa, Viviana M. Posada, Zachariah Koyn, Jean Paul Allain
In spite of the biocompatible, nontoxic, and radiolucent properties of polyetheretherketone (PEEK), its biologically inert surface compromises its use in dental, orthopedic, and spine fusion industries. Many efforts have been made to improve the biological performance of PEEK implants, from bioactive coatings to composites using titanium alloys or hydroxyapatite and changing the surface properties by chemical and physical methods. Directed plasma nanosynthesis (DPNS) is an atomic-scale nanomanufacturing technique that changes the surface topography and chemistry of solids via low-energy ion bombardment. In this study, PEEK samples were nanopatterned by using argon ion irradiation by DPNS to yield active nanoporous biomaterial surface. PEEK surfaces modified with two doses of low and high fluence, corresponding to 1.0 × 1017 and 1.0 × 1018 ions/cm2, presented pore sizes of 15–25 and 60–90 nm, respectively, leaving exposed PEEK fibers and an increment of roughness of nearly 8 nm. The pores per unit area were closely related for high fluence PEEK and low fluence PEEK surfaces, with 129.11 and 151.72 pore/μm2, respectively. The contact angle significantly decreases in hydrophobicity–hydrophilicity tests for the irradiated PEEK surface to ∼46° from a control PEEK value of ∼74°. These super hydrophilic substrates had 1.6 times lower contact angle compared to the control sample revealing a rough surface of 20.5 nm only at higher fluences when compared to control and low fluences of 12.16 and 14.03 nm, respectively. These super hydrophilic surfaces in both cases reached higher cell viability with ∼13 and 34% increase, respectively, compared to unmodified PEEK, with an increased expression of alkaline phosphatase at 7 days on higher fluences establishing a higher affinity for preosteblasts with increased cellular activity, thus revealing successful and improved integration with the implant material, which can potentially be used in bone tissue engineering.