Laser-based diagnostics and therapeutics show promise for many neurological disorders. However, the poor transparency of cranial bone limits the spatial resolution and interaction depth that can be achieved. We addressed this limitation previously, by introducing a novel cranial prosthesis made of a transparent nanocrystalline yttria-stabilized zirconia (nc-YSZ) which aims to enhance the diagnosis and treatment of neurological diseases by providing chronic optical access to the brain. By using optical coherence tomography, we have demonstrated the initial feasibility of ncYSZ implants for cortical imaging in an acute murine model. Although zirconia-based implants have been known for their excellent mechanical properties, the in vivo application was found to be affected by long-term failures, due to low temperature degradation. Accelerated aging simulations in humid environments at slightly elevated temperatures and over long periods typically transforms the ceramic surface into a monoclinic structure through a stress-corrosion-type mechanism. It was expected that the new nc-YSZ would show sufficient resistance to humid environments in comparison to the conventional zirconia implant. However, even a modest amount of transformation can change optical characteristics such as transparency. Herein we present the results of a simulated ageing study following the guidelines from the ISO 13356:2008 on aging of surgical zirconia ceramics. Comparison of %monoclinic transformation, optical transparency and mechanical hardness of nc-YSZ samples at baseline and following 25 and 100 h hydrothermal treatments shows our implant can withstand these extended ageing treatments.
Nami Davoodzadeh, Gottlieb Uahengo, David Halaney, Javier E. Garay, and Guillermo Aguilar, "Influence of low temperature ageing on optical and mechanical properties of transparent yittria stabilized-zirconia cranial prosthesis ," Proc. SPIE 10486, Design and Quality for Biomedical Technologies XI, 104860A (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 27, 2018; Published: 19 February 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2287296.
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