Gas plasma etching of PEO/PBT segmented block copolymer films

M.B. Olde riekerink, M.B. Claase, G.H.M. Engbers, Dirk W. Grijpma, Jan Feijen

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A series of poly(ethylene oxide)/poly(butylene terephthalate) (PEO/PBT) segmented block copolymer films was treated with a radio-frequency carbon dioxide (CO2) or with argon (Ar) plasma. The effects of (preferential) etching on surface structure, topography, chemistry, and wettability were studied by scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and contact angle measurements. In all cases, a granular-type nanostructure was formed after prolonged CO2 plasma etching. Ar plasma etching generally did not lead to significant changes in surface structure. Regarding surface chemistry, CO2 plasma treatment caused surface oxidation and oxidative degradation of the films while Ar plasma etching resulted mainly in the preferential removal of PEO blocks. The wettability of all films significantly increased after plasma treatment because of the creation of polar functional groups at the surface. Preliminary goat bone-marrow cell compatibility experiments have shown that all plasma-treated PEO/PBT films induced a greatly enhanced cell adhesion and/or growth compared to untreated biomaterials. This improvement was attributed to changes in surface chemistry during plasma etching rather than to changes in surface structure. These results show that plasma-treated PEO/PBT copolymers have a high potential as scaffolds for bone tissue regeneration.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)417-428
JournalJournal of biomedical materials research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • METIS-216639
  • bone-cell compatibility
  • PEO/PBT block copolymers
  • Gas plasma treatment
  • Tissue Engineering
  • IR-71936
  • polymer surface modification

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