Methods for Fabrication of Nanoscale Topography for Tissue Engineering Scaffolds
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Observations of how controlling the microenvironment of cell cultures can lead to changes in a variety of parameters has lead investigators to begin studying how the nanoenvironment of a culture can affects cells. Cells have many structures at the nanoscale such as filipodia and cytoskeletal and membrane proteins that interact with the environment surrounding them. By using techniques that can control the nanoenvironment presented to a cell, investigators are beginning to be able to mimic the nanoscale topographical features presented to cells by extracellular matrix proteins such as collagen, which has precise and repeating nanotopography. The belief is that these nanoscale surface features are important to creating more natural cell growth and function. A number of techniques are currently being used to create nanoscale topographies for cell scaffolding. These techniques fall into two main categories: techniques that create ordered topographies and those that create unordered topographies. Electron Beam lithography and photolithograpghy are two standard techniques for creating ordered features. Polymer demixing, phase separation, colloidal lithography and chemical etching are most typically used for creating unordered surface patterns. This review will give an overview of these techniques and cite observations from experiments carried out using them.