All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Renato P Camata

Advisory Committee Members

Susan L Bellis

Shane A Catledge

Derrick R Dean

Yogesh K Vohra

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences


Biochemical processes make pervasive use of calcium and phosphate ions. Calcium phosphate salts that are naturally nontoxic and bioactive have been used for several medical applications in form of coatings and micropowders. Nanoparticle-based calcium phosphates have been shown to be internalized by living cells and be effective in DNA transfection, drug delivery, and transport of fluorophores for imaging of intracellular processes. They are also expected to interact strongly with cell adhesive proteins and are therefore promising elements in approaches to mimic the complex environment of the extra cellular matrix of bone. Harnessing this biomedical potential requires the ability to control the numerous characteristics of nanophase calcium phosphates that affect biological response, including nanoparticle chemical composition, crystal phase, crystallinity, crystallographic orientation of exposed faces, size, shape, surface area, number concentration, and degree of aggregation. This dissertation focuses on the use of laser-induced gas-phase synthesis for creation of calcium phosphate nanoparticles, and corresponding nanoparticle-based substrates that could offer new opportunities for guiding biological responses through well-controlled biochemical and topological cues. Gas-phase synthesis of nanoparticles has several characteristics that could enhance control over particle morphology, crystallinity, and surface area, compared to liquid-phase techniques. Synthesis from gas-phase precursors can be carried out at high temperatures and in high-purity inert or reactive gas backgrounds, enabling good control of chemistry, crystal structure, and purity. Moreover, the particle mean free path and number concentration can be controlled independently. This allows regulation of inter-particle collision rates, which can be adjusted to limit aggregation. High-temperature synthesis of well-separated particles is therefore possible. In this work high power lasers are employed to vaporize microcrystalline calcium phosphate materials to generate an aerosol of nanoparticles which is further processed and deposited using principles of aerosol mechanics. Particles and resulting particle-based systems are analyzed by transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, X-ray diffraction, and optical absorption. Obtained substrates are functionalized with cell adhesive peptides. Findings show that laser-induced gas-phase synthesis provides attractive new dimensions in the controlled fabrication of calcium phosphate nanoparticles, including manipulation not only of size and chemical composition, but also crystal phase make-up, fractal structure, and nanotopography of derived substrates.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.