Seminar: Gas-Discharge Plasma-Assisted Functionalization Processes for Bioactive Surfaces

For NYU Community

A joint seminar between NYU-Poly and NYU College of Dentistry.


Dr. K. Schröder

Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology (INP)
Felix-Hausdorff-Strasse 2, D-17489 Greifswald, Germany


Artificial biomaterials in medicine and dentistry are optimized with respect to mechanical properties and the prevention of toxic effects today. However, their surface properties do not meet the requirements dentists and physicians want to fulfil for their patients. Therefore, new surface refinements are very important topics in biomaterial research. Gas-discharge plasmas offer some of such new possibilities. They can lead to surface activation and functionalization, often not obtainable with conventional, solvent-based chemical methods.

Essentially, there are three basic advantages of plasma activation and functionalization:

  1. The superior chemical reactivity of plasmas allows surface activation of inert materials in the nanoscale range including creation of covalently bound functional groups.
  2. Properly operated plasma activation and functionalization processes do neither affect bulk materials characteristics nor produce toxic substances.
  3. Properly operated non-thermal plasmas cause only minor thermal load to substrates.

Both, plasmas at atmospheric pressure and low pressure can be applied for surface modification. While atmospheric-pressure plasmas offer advantages in terms of investment cost and process integrability, low-pressure plasmas excel by their superior chemical selectivity.

This presentation will be focused on examples of nano- and microscale plasma-functionalized polymer and implant surfaces. We will address chemically different surfaces and their bioactive properties to control cell behavior in vitro and tissue reactions in vivo.


Karsten Schröder is the Head of the Department of Plasma-Surface Technology at Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology in Greifswald, Germany. He received his PhD degree in 1992 from the University of Greifswald with a thesis on “Synthesis of cis-1,4-polybutadiene by modified ZIEGLER-NATTA Catalysts.” After a Postdoc stay at the Institute for Diabetes Research in Karlsruhe, Germany, he joined the Leibniz Institute in 1996 and assumed his current position in 2008. He has numerous publications and holds 5 patents in his main research areas of plasmachemical surface modification of polymer materials, bioactive surfaces of implants, and surface analytical techniques for the investigation of nano-scale modifications.