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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Research Project: Nanoparticles on Medical Devices

Contacts: Benita Dair and Dave Saylor

Studies of the behavior of silver nanoparticles was initiated due to the growing number of nano-silver containing devices submitted to FDA recently and by the need to better understand this new technology for medical device applications.  Scientists in the Active Materials Lab use both experimental and computational approaches to access the ability of silver nanoparticles to release silver ions to reduce infections on implants.  The  experimental work involves the production of silver nanoparticles with controlled surface chemistry. An analytical model was also developed to account for the electrochemical processes responsible for the dissolution of the silver nanoparticles. 

An important result of this research for the medical device industry is that the release rate of silver from the nanoparticles is strongly affected by the chemistry of the medical device surface on which the nanoparticles are deposited on.  In addition, nanoparticles below 20nm in size release silver ions at a much accelerated rate.  Both these results have a critical impact on the concentration of ions at the implant-tissue interface and hence, their effectiveness at infection control.