Micro-Plasma Technology for Controlling Cellular Interactions on Medical Implants

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Electrical Engineering and Electronics


Plasma discharges are an ideal tool to modify polymeric surfaces used in biomedical research, introducing specific elements or functional groups onto the surface. In particular, plasma processes can transfer cell-adhesive or cell-repulsive groups over small domains, often through the use of masks.One major aim of this study will be to develop new atmospheric pressure plasmas (micro-plasma jets) as platforms to create chemically defined bio-surfaces on the micron scale without the need for masks. Atmospheric pressure plasmas have the advantage over vacuum-based techniques in that the plasmas themselves can be scaled to a size approaching cellular dimensions, offering novel applications in medicine and biology, and are cheap, portable and very efficient in terms of power consumption. The micro-plasma jets will operate in number of different gases and polymerisable monomers and chemical features with specific functionality down to 50 microns dimensions will be defined on a range of polymeric surfaces. The technology will be directly applied to the surface modification of intraocular lens IOL implants to study and control the interaction of human epithelial cells (LEC) on the lens. The adhesion, proliferation and migration of LECs on chemically defined surfaces and gradients will be of prime importance in assessing the technology as a tool for bio-materials engineering. The chemical and physical nature of the polymerized surfaces (analysed using XPS and other surface analytical tools) will be correlated to measurements of the plasma jet composition and also the cell-surface interactions.


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Bradley J (2011) Schlieren Photography of the Outflow From a Plasma Jet in IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science

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Ghasemi M (2013) Interaction of multiple plasma plumes in an atmospheric pressure plasma jet array in Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics

Description We can deposit bio-compatible polymerized thin films using the treatment jet technology developed in the project. The films retain identified and required functional groups.
Exploitation Route A new commercial tool for bio-coatings is conceivable
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Description Form basis of new research in antimicrobial films and anti-sticking films for paints and printing.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Chemicals,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Retail,Other
Impact Types Economic

Description Blackpool Teaching Hospital 
Organisation Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We are producing using plasma polymerisation nitric oxide releasing coatings for the potential production of antimicrobial surfaces and bandages for applications in wound healing and eradication of biofilms.
Collaborator Contribution Dr A Guleri, Consultant Clinical Microbiologist at the Blackpool Teaching Hospital will (together with our project partners at the University of Lancaster) as the project develops be testing the surfaces against selected pathogens.
Impact None yet.
Start Year 2019