Protruding organic surfaces triggered by in-plane electric fields.
ABSTRACT: Coatings with a dynamic surface topography are of interest for applications in haptics, soft robotics, cell growth in biology, hydro- and air dynamics and tribology. Here we propose a design for creating oscillating surface topographies in thin liquid crystal polymer network coatings under an electric field. By applying an alternating electric field, the coating surface deforms, and pre-designed local corrugations appear. The continuous AC electric field further initiates oscillations superimposed on the formed topographies. This effect is based on microscopic free volume creation. By exciting the liquid crystal network at its resonance frequency, maximum free volume is generated and large surface topographies are formed. Molecular simulation is used to examine this behaviour in microscopic detail as a function of oscillation frequency. Surface topography formation is fast and reversible. Excess free volume is energetically unfavourable, thus the surface topographies disappear within seconds once the electric field is removed.
Project description:A family of hybrid organoinorganic silica-based particles with varied chemical natures and morphologies has been synthesized to test their ability to develop coatings with underwater hydrophobicity. The particles were characterized by elemental microanalysis, scanning electron microscopy, and dynamic light scattering to evaluate the organic content, observe the morphology, and estimate the aggregate size, respectively. These morphologies were transferred into surface topographies by spraycoating dispersions made from the particles onto glass supports, resulting in coatings with an ample range of profiles and roughness but all of them being superhydrophobic. Atomic force microscopy and optical profilometry were used to map the coating surfaces and analyze the topography. Then, underwater hydrophobicity endurance was tested by immersion under a 2 cm 20 °C water column perpendicular to circular glass supports coated with the particles. The so-called mirror effect derived from the occurrence of the primary plastron (continuous air layer occluded between the surface and the water) was observed on the surface of all of the coatings tested. Apart from the dependency of plastrons on the water temperature and substrate shape, the plastron quality and lifetime is notably different depending on the particle morphology and thus on the coating topography. These experiments have demonstrated that the most persistent mirror effects, and therefore underwater superhydrophobicity, were produced on coatings that exhibited the smoothest topographies at the micrometric scale. In addition, these particle-only coatings can be made mechanically stable and robust by blending with a polymer matrix.
Project description:Surface topography of medical implants provides an important biophysical cue on guiding cellular functions at the cell-implant interface. However, few techniques are available to produce polymeric coatings with controlled microtopographies onto surgical implants, especially onto implant devices of small dimension and with complex structures such as drug-eluting stents. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to develop a new strategy to fabricate polymeric coatings using an electrospraying technique based on the uniqueness of this technique in that it can be used to produce a mist of charged droplets with a precise control of their shape and dimension. We hypothesized that this technique would allow facile manipulation of coating morphology by controlling the shape and dimension of electrosprayed droplets. More specifically, we employed the electrospraying technique to coat a layer of biodegradable polyurethane with tailored microtopographies onto commercial coronary stents. The topography of such stent coatings was modulated by controlling the ratio of round to stretched droplets or the ratio of round to crumped droplets under high electric field before deposition. The shape of electrosprayed droplets was governed by the stability of these charged droplets right after ejection or during their flight in the air. Using the electrospraying technique, we achieved conformal polymeric coatings with tailored microtopographies onto conductive surgical implants. The approach offers potential for controlling the surface topography of surgical implant devices to modulate their integration with surrounding tissues.
Project description:Surface topography variations of liquid crystal networks in their functional coatings provide unique properties in these systems. Chiral-nematic polymer coatings self-organize in a fingerprint texture with the molecular helices parallel to the substrate with alternating domains of molecular units with parallel and perpendicular director orientation as controlled by the concentration of a reactive chiral additive. Driven by surface-tension differences and altered by anisotropic polymerization shrinkage, the coating may form hills and valleys hundreds of nanometers in size with different molecular alignment. The director orientation in the corrugations could be controlled by monomer diffusion during polymerization. Polymerization in the presence of a dichroic dye gives topographic elevations in which the molecules are oriented along the normal. Polymerization by means of a dichroic photoinitiator gives topographic elevations in which the molecules align parallel to the surface. By balancing the monomer diffusion and anisotropic polymerization shrinkage, relatively flat surfaces are also achieved. The different surfaces exhibit distinct topographical deformations when subjected to external stimuli, such as an AC electric field. This method can be universally extended to LC polymers with other alignment configurations.
Project description:It is increasingly recognized that material surface topography is able to evoke specific cellular responses, endowing materials with instructive properties that were formerly reserved for growth factors. This opens the window to improve upon, in a cost-effective manner, biological performance of any surface used in the human body. Unfortunately, the interplay between surface topographies and cell behavior is complex and still incompletely understood. Rational approaches to search for bioactive surfaces will therefore omit previously unperceived interactions. Hence, in the present study, we use mathematical algorithms to design nonbiased, random surface features and produce chips of poly(lactic acid) with 2,176 different topographies. With human mesenchymal stromal cells (hMSCs) grown on the chips and using high-content imaging, we reveal unique, formerly unknown, surface topographies that are able to induce MSC proliferation or osteogenic differentiation. Moreover, we correlate parameters of the mathematical algorithms to cellular responses, which yield novel design criteria for these particular parameters. In conclusion, we demonstrate that randomized libraries of surface topographies can be broadly applied to unravel the interplay between cells and surface topography and to find improved material surfaces.
Project description:While color video endoscopy has enabled wide-field examination of the gastrointestinal tract, it often misses or incorrectly classifies lesions. Many of these missed lesions exhibit characteristic three-dimensional surface topographies. An endoscopic system that adds topographical measurements to conventional color imagery could therefore increase lesion detection and improve classification accuracy. We introduce photometric stereo endoscopy (PSE), a technique which allows high spatial frequency components of surface topography to be acquired simultaneously with conventional two-dimensional color imagery. We implement this technique in an endoscopic form factor and demonstrate that it can acquire the topography of small features with complex geometries and heterogeneous optical properties. PSE imaging of ex vivo human gastrointestinal tissue shows that surface topography measurements enable differentiation of abnormal shapes from surrounding normal tissue. Together, these results confirm that the topographical measurements can be obtained with relatively simple hardware in an endoscopic form factor, and suggest the potential of PSE to improve lesion detection and classification in gastrointestinal imaging.
Project description:Surface topography is one of the key factors in regulating interactions between materials and cells. While topographies presented to cells in vivo are non-symmetrical and in complex shapes, current fabrication techniques are limited to replicate these complex geometries. In this study, we developed a microcasting technique and successfully produced imprinted hydroxyapatite (HAp) surfaces with nature-inspired (honeycomb, pillars, and isolated islands) topographies. The in vitro biological performance of the developed non-symmetrical topographies was evaluated using adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs). We demonstrated that ADSCs cultured on all HAp surfaces, except honeycomb patterns, presented well-defined stress fibers and expressed focal adhesion protein (paxillin) molecules. Isolated islands topographies significantly promoted osteogenic differentiation of ADSCs with increased alkaline phosphatase activity and upregulation of key osteogenic markers, compared to the other topographies and the control unmodified (flat) HAp surface. In contrast, honeycomb topographies hampered the ability of the ADSCs to proliferate and differentiate to the osteogenic lineage. This work presents a facile technique to imprint nature-derived topographies on the surface of bioceramics which opens up opportunities for the development of bioresponsive interfaces in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
Project description:Building on the SVPE (surface and volume polarization for electrostatics) model for electrostatic contributions to the free energy of solvation with explicit consideration of both surface and volume polarization effects, on the SMx approach to including first-solvation-shell contributions, and on the linear relationship between the electric field and short-range electrostatic contributions found by Chipman, we have developed a new method for computing absolute aqueous solvation free energies by combining the SVPE method with semiempirical terms that account for effects beyond bulk electrostatics. The new method is called SMVLE, and the elements it contains are denoted by SVPE-CDSL where SVPE denotes accounting for bulk electrostatic interactions between solute and solvent with both surface and volume contributions, CDS denotes the inclusion of solvent cavitation, changes in dispersion energy, and possible changes in local solvent structure by a semiempirical term utilizing geometry-dependent atomic surface tensions as implemented in SMx models, and L represents the local electrostatic effect derived from the outward-directed normal electric field on the cavity surface. The semiempirical CDS and L terms together represent the deviation of short-range contributions to the free energy of solvation from those accounted for by the SVPE term based on the bulk solvent dielectric constant. A solute training set containing a broad range of molecules used previously in the development of SM6 is used here for SMVLE model calibration. The aqueous solvation free energies predicted by the parameterized SMVLE model correlate exceedingly well with experimental values. The square of the correlation coefficient is 0.9949 and the slope is 1.0079. Comparison of the final SMVLE model against the earlier SMx solvation model shows that the parameterized SMVLE model not only yields good accuracy for neutrals but also significantly increases the accuracy for ions, making it the best implicit solvation model to date for aqueous solvation free energies of ions. The semiempirical terms associated with the outward-directed electric field account in a physical way for the improvement in the predictive accuracy for ions. The SMVLE method greatly decreases the need to include explicit water molecules for accurate modeling of solvation free energies of ions.
Project description:Liquid crystal surfaces can undergo topographical morphing in response to external cues. These shape-shifting coatings promise a revolution in various applications, from haptic feedback in soft robotics or displays to self-cleaning solar panels. The changes in surface topography can be controlled by tailoring the molecular architecture and mechanics of the liquid crystal network. However, the nanoscopic mechanisms that drive morphological transitions remain unclear. Here, we introduce a frequency-resolved nanostrain imaging method to elucidate the emergent dynamics underlying field-induced shape-shifting. We show how surface morphing occurs in three distinct stages: (i) the molecular dipoles oscillate with the alternating field (10-100?ms), (ii) this leads to collective plasticization of the glassy network (~1?s), (iii) culminating in actuation of the topography (10-100?s). The first stage appears universal and governed by dielectric coupling. By contrast, yielding and deformation rely on a delicate balance between liquid crystal order, field properties and network viscoelasticity.
Project description:Surface topography profoundly influences cell adhesion, differentiation, and stem cell fate control. Numerous studies using a variety of materials demonstrate that nanoscale topographies change the intracellular organization of actin cytoskeleton and therefore a broad range of cellular dynamics in live cells. However, the underlying molecular mechanism is not well understood, leaving why actin cytoskeleton responds to topographical features unexplained and therefore preventing researchers from predicting optimal topographic features for desired cell behavior. Here we demonstrate that topography-induced membrane curvature plays a crucial role in modulating intracellular actin organization. By inducing precisely controlled membrane curvatures using engineered vertical nanostructures as topographies, we find that actin fibers form at the sites of nanostructures in a curvature-dependent manner with an upper limit for the diameter of curvature at ?400 nm. Nanotopography-induced actin fibers are branched actin nucleated by the Arp2/3 complex and are mediated by a curvature-sensing protein FBP17. Our study reveals that the formation of nanotopography-induced actin fibers drastically reduces the amount of stress fibers and mature focal adhesions to result in the reorganization of actin cytoskeleton in the entire cell. These findings establish the membrane curvature as a key linkage between surface topography and topography-induced cell signaling and behavior.
Project description:The use of biocompatible materials, including bulk metallic glasses (BMGs), for tissue regeneration and transplantation is increasing. The good mechanical and corrosion properties of Ti40Zr10Cu38Pd12 BMG and its previously described biocompatibility makes it a potential candidate for medical applications. However, it is known that surface properties like topography might play an important role in regulating cell adhesion, proliferation and differentiation. Thus, in the present study, Ti40Zr10Cu38Pd12 BMG and Ti6-Al-4V alloy were surface-modified electrochemically (nanomesh) or physically (microscratched) to investigate the effect of material topography on human osteoblasts cells (Saos-2) adhesion, proliferation and differentiation. For comparative purposes, the effect of mirror-like polished surfaces was also studied. Electrochemical treatments led to a highly interconnected hierarchical porous structure rich in oxides, which have been described to improve corrosion resistance, whereas microscratched surfaces showed a groove pattern with parallel trenches. Cell viability was higher than 96% for the three topographies tested and for both alloy compositions. In all cases, cells were able to adhere, proliferate and differentiate on the alloys, hence indicating that surface topography plays a minor role on these processes, although a clear cell orientation was observed on microscratched surfaces. Overall, our results provide further evidence that Ti40Zr10Cu38Pd12 BMG is an excellent candidate, in the present two topographies, for bone repair purposes.