In the spirit of training the next generation of researchers, the Laboratory of Thin Film Physics at the Centre for Energy Research provided the background and professional assistance to high school students Zita Halmos and Anna Viczián, who won 3rd place in the Youth Science and Innovation Talent Search Competition with their bioceramic-coated, 3D-printed polymer implant.

Today, implants placed in the body are widespread, but the majority of people who have had surgery are of the opinion that the possibility of infection and the presence of foreign matter in their body constitute a major problem.

The aim of the competition work by the young students was to create a bone implant based on a skeleton made of polylactic acid (PLA) with 3D printing. The polymer was coated with a suspension of hydroxyapatite (HAP) made from eggshells by the young “researchers”, which, unlike what has been known so far, is not synthetic, resulting in improved and faster ossification (osteogenesis). The implanted bone-replacement biopolymer material degrades in 8 to 12 weeks and is replaced by new bone formed from HAP granules. As a result of the experiments, the parameters of the most optimal coating have been identified.

Zita Halmos and Anna Viczián study at the Márton Elementary and High School in Törökbálint and Baár-Madas Reformed High School, Elementary School and Student Residence in Budapest. Their research work was mentored by Dr Éva Oláh and Dr Katalin Balázs, and the Laboratory of Thin Film Physics provided the technical background for research.