The limited bioactive properties of traditional implants can increase the length of the healing process and the risk of rejection. (Credit: Adobe Stock)

Researchers are working on a coating that mimics bone tissue. The cutting-edge coating is based on three bioactive materials. Chitosan, found in shrimp shells, has antimicrobial properties. Collagen, the organic component of bone, facilitates cell migration and growth. And copper-doped phosphate glass stimulates blood vessel formation and bone reconstruction.

The team uses electrophoretic deposition to make the coating. The implant acts as an electrode on which bioactive material particles are deposited, forming a layer. The method does not damage the structure and properties of bioactive materials. And unlike other deposition processes currently used, it can be used at standard ambient temperature and pressure on complex shapes without expensive equipment.

The process is also versatile since the deposition can be easily adapted to specific applications. For example, the technique can be applied to hydrophilic and antimicrobial coatings, bone surface reconstruction, or coatings that are biologically and chemically inert. The product could be used to produce coronary or venous stents, in bone transplants, or in medical environments to prevent the transmission of bacteria, and thus biological infections.

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