Laser-assisted surface modification of zirconia-based materials to guide osteoblast responses for dental applications

Abstract

The project is aimed at investigating the effect of laser surface modification of dental-grade zirconia (3Y-TZP) to guide cellular behaviour. A nanosecond laser was employed to fabricate groove patterns on the surface of 3Y-TZP, yielding three different topographies according to the groove periodicity (30, 50 and 100µm). The resulting topography, microstructure, hardness and hydrothermal degradation resistance of the modified zirconia was assessed by means of advanced characterization techniques. A cellular study was conducted to evaluate the behaviour of human mesenchymal stem cells on the patterned samples in terms of adhesion and cell morphology. The results showed grooves of approximately 1.7µm heigh with pronounced pile-up due to the melting and re-solidification of the material. The phase analysis revealed that no phase transformation is induced during the laser modification; however, a non-homogeneous monoclinic phase distribution was observed on the patterned surfaces after hydrothermal degradation. Finally, all the patterned surfaces allowed cell attachment, increased cell area and favoured cell elongation and alignment in the direction of the laser patterns.Postprint (published version

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