Atmospheric plasma treatment of porous polymer constructs for tissue engineering applications

Laleh Safinia, Karen Wilson, Athanasios Mantalaris, Alexander Bismarck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Porous 3D polymer scaffolds prepared by TIPS from PLGA (53:47) and PS are intrinsically hydrophobic which prohibits the wetting of such porous media by water. This limits the application of these materials for the fabrication of scaffolds as supports for cell adhesion/spreading. Here we demonstrate that the interior surfaces of polymer scaffolds can be effectively modified using atmospheric air plasma (AP). Polymer films (2D) were also modified as control. The surface properties of wet 2D and 3D scaffolds were characterised using zeta-potential and wettability measurements. These techniques were used as the primary screening methods to assess surface chemistry and the wettability of wet polymer constructs prior and after the surface treatment. The surfaces of the original polymers are rather hydrophobic as highlighted but contain acidic functional groups. Increased exposure to AP improved the water wetting of the treated surfaces because of the formation of a variety of oxygen and nitrogen containing functions. The morphology and pore structure was assessed using SEM and a liquid displacement test. The PLGA and PS foam samples have central regions which are open porous interconnected networks with maximum pore diameters of 49 μm for PLGA and 73 μm for PS foams. (Figure Presented)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-327
Number of pages13
JournalMacromolecular Bioscience
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2007


  • biomaterials
  • characterization
  • foams
  • macroporous polymers
  • plasma
  • surfaces


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