UChicago Develops Artificial, Bonelike Material to be used with Medical Devices


Published Date : Jul 10, 2015

Researchers at the University of Chicago have developed a novel approach to integrate medical devices with biological systems in a better way. Led by assistant professor in chemistry Bozhi Tian, the researchers at the University of Chicago have devised bonelike silicon spicules developed for the very first time by chemical processes. 

Joe Akkara, the program director at the National Science Foundation’s materials research division, said that the Tian group used bone formation as a guide to develop a synthetic material out of silicon. This seems to have the potential to enhance the interaction between hard materials and soft tissue. The National Science Foundation’s materials research division has funded the research carried out by assistant professor Bozhi Tian. This is the power of basic scientific research, Akkara added, saying that the Tian group has developed material that seems to preliminarily improve soft tissue function.

Tian and his co-authors from Northwestern University and UChicago published a paper on June 26, where they describe their new approach for the fabrication and syntheses of mesocopic 3D semiconductors. These are the intermediate between the macroscopic and nanometer scales.

Lead author Zhiqiang Luo said that this opens up a new avenue for developing electronics that can be used for enhanced stimulation and sensing at bio-interfaces. Zhiqiang Luo is a postdoctoral scholar at Tian’s laboratory.

Tian’s group achieved methods in the development of biological and semiconductor materials. The first is the strictly chemical demonstration of 3D lithography. The second advance is a novel chemical method developed by Tian and his associates that depends upon the mysterious ability of gold atoms to entrap silicon-carrying electrons to particularly avoid the etching. The project’s third advance showed that the synthetic silicon spicules portrayed stronger exchanges with collagen fibers – a skin like substitute for biological tissues – compared to presently available silicon structures.