Making another breakthrough in the field of medical research, the scientists at the University of Chicago have developed a bone-like silicon material with the help of different chemical processes.
Various discoveries in the past have enabled scientists to create artificial limbs for implantation. However, the researchers said the new silicon spicule material potentially could be used to create medical implants that could better suit the biological systems in the human body.
Joe Akkara of the National Science Foundation said the newly developed material shows the potential to increase the interaction between soft tissues in the body and hard materials. The enhanced interaction between the two could open new avenues for the production of electronics that improve simulation and sensing at biointerfaces, Tech Times reported.
The research, funded by the National Science Foundation, involved the use of an innovative technique to produce three-dimensional semiconductors. The semiconductors produced were mesoscopic, that is, the scale ranged between a nanometer and macroscopic scales.
The method used for the synthesis and fabrication of the semiconductors involved the technique of pressure modulation synthesis. This technique facilitated the induction of the gold-based patterns in the silicon, which in turn acted as a catalyst to promote the growth of silicon.
By varying the pressure on the samples, the researchers were able to obtain the precipitated gold along the surface of the silicon. Further testing of the resultant silicon material revealed it showed much greater interaction with the collagen fibers, as compared to the currently available versions.
Bozhi Tian, the lead researcher, said the new material can help overcome the problems scientists face in medical implantations. One of the major problems the scientists face currently is that the interaction between the tissues and the electronic medical implant is not deeply rooted to sustain the implantation.
"Compared to other more uniform silicon structures, the anisotropic spicule requires greater force for detachment from collagen hydrogels, suggesting enhanced interfacial interactions at the mesoscale," the researchers concluded in the study, which has been published in the journal Science.