The implantation of medical devices into the body, whether for long term or short term is very important. However the surface of these devices must be biocompatible and this is very difficult to achieve, especially for small devices or those with a complex shape. Changing the surface properties or even creating a thin layer of a different material on a surface (e.g. a polymer on metal) is often used to achieve biocompatibility. The best method for changing the surface or creating a thin film of new material is by using a low temperature plasma. However, so far this only works for flat surfaces. We have managed to create a highly controlled plasma inside a long narrow tube and the next stage of this work and the topic of this PhD project is to use these plasmas to create biocompatible surfaces on the inside of medical tubes such as coronary artery stents and catheters.
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The project details below are as provided as the initial outline. You will have the opportunity to discuss the exact project details with me and together we will develop a research programme to suit your expertise and preferences.
Qualifications; First degree in any of the following: Physics, Physical Sciences, Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Polymer Science or similar subject area.
First Supervisor: Maguire, PD Prof
Second Supervisor: Mariotti, D Dr
Collaboration: This project does not involve collaboration with another establishment
Microplasmas are simple electrical devices that transfer very large amounts of energy per volume into a gas which then emits light and also, possible, reactive chemical species. This make it very useful for many applications such as detecting breath gases, killing bacteria for wound healing, destroying diesel pollutants, detecting water toxins, making nanoparticles, nanotubes and other exotic materials etc. The microplasma chamber is a fine hollow tube and in this project this microplasma becomes the medical device we wish to treat. An example would be a coronary stent which is a 2mm diameter mesh inserted into the heart. We wish to coat this with a nanocoating such that metal reaction with the body is limited and the surface promoted growth of the body's own cells.