Laser based additive manufacturing facility (MR-7, Optomec Inc., USA)
Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENSTM
) is an laser based additive manufacturing facility that uses metal powder to create net shape functional parts from CAD files for variety of applications. Our system uses 500W fiber laser with 0.5 mm beam diameter. The process begins with creating a molten metal pool on a substrate fixed to a X-Y CNC table. A predetermined amount of powder is fed into the liquid metal pool and as the substrate moves a thin line of metal strongly bonded to substrate will be created. A cross section is built by overlapping these thin lines. The deposition head moves up once the layer is deposited and process is repeated until the part represented in CAD file is fabricated. Parts with fully dense or tailored internal architecture or porosity can be built. We have successfully processed Ti, Ti6Al4V, stainless steels, NiTi alloy, intermetallics, and metal matrix composites.
Air plasma spraying facility (9M, Sulzer Metco.)
Our 80 kW air plasma spray system consists of plasma spray gun, spray controlling unit, power supply unit, distribution unit, powder feeder unit, etc. The unit can deposit variety of materials creating sound coatings of different substrates for biomedical and other engineering applications. We have successfully deposited hydroxyapatite, tri-calcium phosphate and/or bioactive glass coatings on metallic biomedical implants/ devices with different designs. Other types of coatings such as in-situ metal matrix coatings and porous metal coatings are currently under development for bone implant applications.
Microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition system (DT1800, Lambda Technologies Inc. USA)
One MPCVD reactor with 915 MHz and 15 kW microwave generator has been installed as a part of 11th five year plan period. We have extensively used this system for growing free standing diamond for microwave application, which is a part of ITR project. We have successfully demonstrated fabrication capability up to 60 mm diameter and 0.6 - 0.8 mm thick polycrystalline diamond discs for this application.
Chemo-mechanical (CMP) polishing (CETR, USA)
This apparatus has been specifically customized to polish hard materials such as CVD diamond developed in our laboratory. The instrument has capability to polish at varying process parameters such as normal load, sliding speed, travel speed and has provision to dispense specified amount of polishing fluids to control rate of polishing. Using this process we could reduce the surface roughness of CVD diamond from ~ 6 µm to 200 nm.
Hot and cold isostatic presses (QIH-6, Avure Technologies Inc., USA; EPSI, Belgium)
Both these presses are primarily used to compact ceramic materials. The cold isostatic press is primarily used to achieve high green density of ceramic materials using pressures up to 400 MPa. On the other hand, the hot isostatic press is being used to combine pressing and sintering in one step. Further, we use this process to achieve highest possible sintered density in ceramics for demanding applications such as medical applications. The hot isostatic pressing capabilities include up 2000?C temperature and 200 MPa pressure.
Hip and knee joint simulators (8511, Instron, USA; ProSIM, Simsol Ltd., UK)
In vitro tribological testing using implant simulators is an important aspect in pre-clinical validation of articulating biomaterials as these tests simulate in vivo physiological conditions (loading and movements) thereby providing close in vivo wear performance of articulating biomaterials. It was observed that the wear particles retrieved from sliding wear testing were considerably larger (100-500 nm) than those obtained from hip simulator testing (5-70 nm) and the discrepancy is primarily due to the differences in wear test conditions such as sample geometry, type of loading, sliding, etc. Since the periprosthetic tissue reactions and osteolysis surrounding the hip and the knee implants are linked to the total wear particle characteristics such as volume, particle size, shape and composition tribological testing using joint simulators assumes significant importance. Therefore, we perform tribological evaluations of our materials and designs using these implant simulators to validate their performance.
Gamma-ray sterilization facility (GC 5000, BRIT, BARC)
This facility is being used for sterilization of implants for clinical trials and also to study the effect of gamma ray on the physical and mechanical properties of the new materials that are being developed at our division. Our facility has a Co60 source which works both at low and high doses, e.g., 10 kGy for food processing; 25 kGy for regular disinfection of metal/ ceramic/ polymer implants.
In vitro tissue culture laboratory
This laboratory is equipped with the following:Class II Type A2 Biosafety Cabinet (ESCO)
Our biological safety cabinet is latest generation of energy efficient biosafety cabinet and utilizes ULPA filters for contamination protection. The exterior is coated with Isocide™ powder coating to prevent microbial/bacterial growth. All types of our in vitro cell culture experiments will be performed in this biosafety cabinet.
CO2 incubator: This incubator is being used in our research to grow and maintain cell cultures. Our fields of application include tissue engineering, in vitro culturing, cancer research, and other cell research.
Tissue culture inverted microscope: This inverted microscope is used for biological applications such as to view tissue culture specimens grown in flask.
Plate reader: The reader is used to detect biological, chemical or physical activities of cells. We use 96-well plate with a typical media volume of 100-200 µL/well. The absorbance is detected for quantitative assays such as protein/enzyme activity assays (MTT assay for cell viability). The amount of transmitted light is related to the concentration of desired molecule.
Gel documentation unit: The gel doc imager is an automated and time-saving system to image and analyze electrophoresis gels. The data can be viewed, modified and reported using the Image Lab software. This technique identify and image cellular protein/nucleic acids in a given state, e.g., by application of a new formulation/therapeutic agent etc.
In vitro tribological and electrochemical testing facilities (Nanovea, USA; Bio-Logic Science Instruments SAS, France)
Our tribological testing system is equipped with rotating and pseudo linear reciprocating type wear testing modules. The test setup also contains accessories to carry out tests in physiological fluid with precise temperature control to represent biological environment in the body. Ball-on-disc or pin-on-disc wear testing can be performed using tribometer with ? 3 mm or ? 6 mm pins rubbing against test samples. Normal loads up to 40N can be used for tests.
Electrochemical testing setup has potentiostat, galvanostat, electrometer and frequency response analyzer (FRA) designed to perform several electrochemical research experiments. We extensively use this instrument for electrochemical performance evaluation, such potentiodynamic, electrochemical impedance analysis, of variety of materials and coatings we develop for biomedical applications.
Optical microscope with fluorescence attachment (Olympus, Japan)
This microscope has Bright Field (BF), Differential Interference Contrast (DIC) and Reflected Fluorescence observation facilities with Image Analysis capabilities. The microscope is capable to perform microstructural investigation/imaging for different materials as well as biological samples with Fluorescence attachment.
Compact scanning electron microscope with composition analysis (EDX) (Phenom proX, Phenom-World B.V., Netherlands)
This is compact/desktop SEM with BSE detector with composition analysis capability (point, line scan and mapping) using EDX detector. The magnification can go up to 40,000X. We have three types of samples holder to image microstructures and composition analysis of conductive, non-conductive and mounted samples.
- Hydraulic and mechanical presses of different capacities.
- Ceramic implants/samples machining facility.
- Electrical driers and furnaces with precision temperature and vacuum control.
- Infra-red, UV Vis and Raman spectroscopy, HPLC.
- Scratch tester.
- Micro-macro hardness tester.
- Planetary Mills.