|Artificial dual-turbine heart | Credit: New Scientist / Jeremiah Zagar|
In a Popular Science article from last month, one of the doctors behind the tech, Billy Cohn, described the materials used to construct the heart turbine:
"The materials needed to be blood-friendly. The structure needed to be resilient to deformation. It had to be formable in a limited space. We needed to be able to sew it, but the needle holes couldn’t let blood leak. And we had to be able to customize it in the OR by cutting it. I bought some ordinary Dacron from the fabric store and RTV silicone from Home Depot to impregnate the outside. I did all this in my garage."Here's my question: What other materials could we construct replacement hearts out of? Perusing the stent literature, it seems like medical device makers try two different tactics: either a non-allergenic metal alloy, like nitinol (Ni-Ti) or cobalt chromium; or a biodegradable polymer, like a polyamide or poly-lactic acid (PLA). I'm hoping one of my materials-leaning readers could help me work through this in the comments.
|Bumper Sticker: "My other car is a Molecular Beam Generator"|
Credit: G. Meijer, Chem. Rev.
Molecular beams are formed, in the words of Prof. Gerard Meijer (Fritz Haber Institute | Max Planck), through a "controlled leak" from a pressurized cavity into a vacuum. Electromagnetic fields can be used to "shape" the beam, which chemists direct at targets, or smash into another beam to simulate basic binding events. My second question: What else could we do with these beams? Brief explorations into physics texts mention roles in quantum dots and nanocrystals, but I'd like to learn more. Readers?