This project has the challenging goal to investigate the deposition of gradient multifunctional coatings throughout the interior of 3D scaffolds for interface tissue engineering applications such as the regeneration of damages at the bone-cartilage interface. Gradient coatings have been developed in the past via wet chemical approaches, but often suffer from severe stability issues.
To tackle this fundamental problem, an alternative plasma-assisted approach (plasma polymerization) will be explored in this project. This solvent-free deposition method providing highly stable thin films has never been applied for the development of such coatings on 3D scaffolds, which clearly proves the high novelty of the proposed research. Thanks to the candidate’s knowledge and expertise gathered during his PhD and the international collaborations
he personally initiated, several objectives will be reached in this project: 3D scaffold printing, plasma reactor design through software modeling, optimization of the plasma polymerization process, biomolecule immobilization and in vitro analysis. As a result, this innovative research will lead to a more fundamental understanding on plasma polymerization of multifunctional coatings in 3D structures and on how reactor design can control the anisotropic character of plasma coatings. If successful, a real breakthrough in the field of interface tissue engineering can be expected which makes this not only a very novel but also a very high gain proposal.