Bioengineering - Labs and Facilities
The cardiovascular biomaterials laboratory utilizes a variety of surface instrumentation in order to characterize biomaterials and protein/surface interactions at the molecular level. Listed below are examples of some of the instrumentation that is routinely used in the laboratory.
Atomic Force Microscope
The atomic force microscope is a member of the larger family of scanning probe microscopes. The basic operation of the AFM involves placing a small probe near a sample surface, and measuring the interactions of that probe with the substrate. A laser reflected off the back of the probe measures deflections due to the sample. We use a Digital Instruments Multimode AFM, shown on the right.
With this microscope, we can produce maps of surface topography and composition, and measure adhesive interactions under biological fluid conditions. The microscope produces atomic resolution on smooth crystals, and sub-molecular resolution on adsorbed proteins.
Contact Angle GoniometerContact Angle Goniometer
Contact angle measurements provide information about of the surface energy of a substrate. A drop of liquid is placed onto a material, and the angle that the drop makes is measured by a goniometer. This angle is used in a force-balance equation in order to determine the surface tension of the material. The surface energy has been shown to correlate with various biological responses to implanted materials.
Materials Research Institute
Many ultra-sensitive surface spectroscopy techniques are available through the Materials Research Institute at University Park, including x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), which provides information on the chemical composition and functionality of biomaterials