Over the last decades, the bone tissue engineering field has expanded to be able to address a plethora of bone-related traumas and to deliver a viable and efficient substitute to allografts or autografts, by combining bioactive materials and cells for bone tissue ingrowth.
Synthetic hydroxyapatite (HA) is one of the most widely used calcium phosphates in implantology. Because obtaining synthetic HA implies polluting, time-consuming and expensive approaches, researchers found a simple, economic and highly productive alternative to produce HA, i.e. to extract it from sustainable biological resources (bones and biogenic materials), considered nowadays only wastes of the food industry. Despite its excellent bone regeneration properties, HA is very brittle in bulk and characterized by poor mechanical properties. In contrast to their excellent mechanical properties, the Ti implants elicit low osseointegration rates. To overcome these shortcomings, HA can be applied as a coating onto the surface of Ti implants, to significantly improve the overall performances of the structures, by successfully combining the excellent bioactivity of the ceramic with the mechanical advantages of the metallic substrates. Therefore, in the field of thin film growth, the PLD technique stands as a simple, versatile, fast-processing, and cost-effective method, which allows for a precise control over the growth rate and morphology to obtain high-quality structures.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report in literature on the synthesis by PLD of marine-derived HA coatings and their complex physical-chemical, mechanical and biological investigation. The aim is to fabricate biocompatible implant coatings, from low-cost resources of important application potential in the biomedical field.