When blood hangs around in one place for too long it’s liable to clot. Plasters, bandages, even torn strips of clothing are great for slowing down escaping blood, and speeding up clotting. Inside the body though, clots can be lethal – a risk that increases when blood cells attach to foreign objects like a medical implant or a catheter. Now scientists have created a superhaemophobic material that repels blood (left), as well as liquids like plasma (middle) and water (right). Zooming in this far (each droplet is about a quarter of the size of a glass marble) we see the liquids stubbornly refusing to soak into the surface below – instead they form round beads on top. Blood hates the chemical makeup of the surface, a specially-treated form of titanium, raising hopes that it might fend off sticky clots. Work is underway on new medical devices coated in this clever biocompatible material.
Written by John Ankers
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.