Biomedical Engineering and the Wonders of Plasma Technologies
What makes plasma effective for surface activation is that the mixing of free-wheeling charged particles makes the plasma hyperactive. Place, for example, a piece of polymer (such as epoxy, polyester, Teflon, silk or wool) in the chamber and the plasma particles will collide with the polymer so powerfully that the individual carbon atoms of the polymer will be dislodged, creating lone electrons in the polymer structure so that the polymer itself becomes highly reactive.
A polymer surface activated in this way becomes like adhesive tape for various substances, including hydrogels.
The result is a hydrogel-attracting surface suitable for implants used in cartilage and bone repairs, artificial nerves and blood vessels. This revolutionary process also finds applications in aeronautics, microelectronics and other areas of medicine.
An added bonus for Akhavan, who is an avid hiker and lover of natural places (“That’s what I live for, basically”), is the eco-friendly nature of much of the work he does. it made with plasma technologies.
“It really is a green technique,” he enthuses. “Whether your goal is to activate the surface of an implantable device to attach hydrogel or to manufacture absorbents for water purification, the one-step process typically takes less than a few minutes, at room temperature. , without toxic acids or other chemicals and it produces literally no waste.