Materials are becoming increasingly smart and now, by utilising known biological applications, a 'smart Petri dish' is being developed.
Materials are becoming increasingly smart and now, by utilising known biological applications, a ’smart Petri dish’ is being developed by materials chemists from Israel. Robert Armon and his colleagues have made hybrid sol-gel films that can be used to grow tissue-cells on. The aim is to move away from the generic polystyrene Petri dish currently in use, towards a method of growing different cells to order.
Lots of thin films were tested, with different compositions, but all were based on hybrid silica thin films with entrapped poly- L-lysine. Armon found that by optimising the film surface, in particular their hydrophobicity, they could create surfaces that could grow any number of different cells. Armon is enthusiastic about his work, and says ’the main significance of our work is to show a convenient and versatile way to match the diverse needs of tissue-cell growth with a practically endless library of specifically tailored materials’.
C Zolkov, D Avnir and R Armon, J. Mater. Chem., 2004 (DOI: 10.1039/ <MAN>b401715n</MAN>)