Advanced Raman Microscopy & Chemical Imaging Lab


Properties of Biomaterials

Bone is a nanostructured material

Bone is a composite material whose components are biominerals and proteins. Like other composite materials, bone properties reflect not only its components but also their interactions and organization. Bone has a highly complex organization that is important at every scale, ranging from the whole bone level to the molecular composition level. The response of bone to forces is not well understood at the composition level.

Where we come in!

Our lab is the first to use dynamic Raman spectroscopy to study the composition level response of bone to mechanical loading! With our dynamic mechanical test apparatus, we can examine small specimens with micron spatial resolution at realistic loading rates. This instrument allows us to obtain spectra on fresh bone specimens while we load them under compression or tension with forces ranging from sub--physiological to traumatic.

What are we finding out, and didn't expect!

What we didn't expect was changes in the MINERAL as well as in the matrix under physiological loads! We can see changes in the spacing of bone mineral ions even at very low loads.