A large application area of medical implants are currently dental prostheses – a rapidly growing market in ageing societies. These implants consisting of titaniumi or a titanium alloy should provide good and fast osseo-integration into the jaw bone. Opposed to that demand, in other applications (for instance for bone screws and plates), the implants may have to be removed after some months or several years and shall, therefore, not be completely overgrown by the bodies’ cells. Hence, a one-step laser-based surface functionalization of implant materials for controlling the cell growth is strongly desired.
The goal of the EIC Pathfinder pilot project LaserImplant is the cooperation between academia, research centers, laser-processing device developers and implant producers for future development of smart medical implants addressing wide-spread patient’s needs in the fields of dental prostheses and screws and plates for bone regeneration. The project activities include to pave the pathway for commercialization of laser-functionalized implants, the exploration of industrial up-scaling strategies (including a demonstrator of implant functionalization machines to be conceived and built at the end of the project), and the dissemination and exploitation of the results.
The project consortium is strongly interdisciplinary combining renowned academic and industrial experts from the fields of medicine, surface chemistry, physics, materials sciences, laser-matter interaction, and laser processing. The joint project consortium forms an excellent base for fundamental and applied research in the field of medical surfaces.