All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

J Barry Andrews

Advisory Committee Members

Gregg M Janowski

Jack E Lemons

Mark L Weaver

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Engineering


Synthetic calcium phosphates (CAP) such as hydroxyapatite (HA) have been used as regenerative bone graft materials and also as thin films to improve the integration of biomedical implant devices within skeletal tissue. Pulsed laser deposition (PLD) can deposit crystalline HA with significant adhesion on titanium biomaterials. However, there are PLD processing constraints due to the complex physical and chemical interactions occurring simultaneously during PLD, which influence ablation plume formation and development. In this investigation PLD CAP films were engineered with a focus on novel decoupling of partial pressure of H2O (g) (P(H2O)) from total background pressure, in combination with substrate heat treatment and laser energy density control. Characterization of these films was performed with X-ray Diffraction, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, and Optical Profilometry. In vitro cellular adhesion testing was also performed using osteoblast (MC3T3) cell lines to evaluate adhesion of bone-forming cells on processed PLD CAP samples. Preferred a-axis orientation films were deposited in H2O (g) saturated atmospheres with reduced laser fluence (< 4 J/cm2). Crystalline HA/tetracalcium phosphate (TTCP) films were deposited in H2O (g)-deficient atmospheres with higher laser fluence (> 3 J/cm2). Varied P(H2O) resulted in control of biphasic HA/TTCP composition with increasing TTCP at lower P(H2O). These were dense continuous films composed of micron-scale particles. Cellular adhesion assays did not demonstrate a significant difference between osteoblast adhesion density on HA films compared with biphasic HA/TTCP films. Room temperature PLD at varied P(H2O) combined with furnace heat treatment resulted in controlled variation in surface amplitude parameters including surface roughness (Sa), root mean square (Sq), peak to valley height (St), and ten-point height (Sz). These discontinuous films were composed of nano-scale particles and resulted in significant osteoblast adhesion compared to control samples or to PLD CAP films deposited on heated substrates. Surface amplitude parameters (Sa, Sq, St, and Sz) correlated with osteoblast adhesion. This new approach of control over H2O (g) operating atmospheres enabled the deposition of unique PLD CAP films with potential use as thin films for biomedical implants or as regenerative bone graft materials

Included in

Engineering Commons



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