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Increasing dental zirconia micro-retentive aspect through ultra-short pulsed laser microstructuring

Study on flexural strength and crystal phase characterization
: Assimakopoulos Garófalo, Stephanie; Wehner, Martin; Dohrn, Andreas; Bilandžić, Marin Dean; Roos, Christian; Wierichs, Richard Johannes; Meyer-Lueckel, Hendrik; Corrêa Aranha, Ana Cecilia; Esteves-Oliveira, Marcella

Volltext ()

Clinical oral investigations (2021), Online First, 17 S.
ISSN: 1432-6981
ISSN: 1436-3771
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer ILT ()
Yttria-stabilized tetragonal zirconia; lasers; Dental materials; Zirconia conditioning; XRD

Although ultra-short pulsed laser (USPL) microstructuring has previously improved zirconia bond-strength, it is yet unclear how different laser-machined surface microstructures and patterns may influence the material’s mechanical properties. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the flexural strength of zirconia after different USPL settings creating three different geometrical patterns with structures in micrometer scale.
One hundred sixty zirconia bars (3Y-TZP, 21 × 4 × 2.1 mm) were prepared and randomly divided into five groups (n = 32): no surface treatment (negative control-NC); sandblasting with Al2O3 (SB); and three laser groups irradiated with USPL (Nd:YVO4/1064 nm/2-34 J/cm2/12 ps): crossed-lines (LC), random-hatching (LR), and parallel-waves (LW). Bars were subjected to a four-point flexural test (1 mm/min) and crystal phase content changes were identified by X-ray diffraction. Surface roughness and topography were analyzed through 3D-laser-profilometry and SEM. Data were analyzed with parametric tests for roughness and Weibull for flexural strength (α = 5%).
LR (Mean[95%CI]: 852.0 MPa, [809.2–894.7]) was the only group that did not show a significantly different flexural strength than NC (819.8 MPa, [796.6–842.9]), (p > 0.05). All laser groups exhibited higher Weibull moduli than NC and SB, indicating higher reliability and homogeneity of the strength data. An increase of monoclinic phase peak was only observed for SB.
In conclusion, USPL created predictable, homogeneous, highly reproducible, and accurate surface microstructures on zirconia ceramic. The laser-settings of random-hatching (12 ps pulses) increased 3Y-TZP average surface roughness similarly to SB, while not causing deleterious crystal phase transformation or loss of flexural strength of the material. Furthermore, it has increased the Weibull modulus and consequently material’s reliability.
Clinical significance
Picosecond laser microstructuring (LR conditions) of 3Y-TZP ceramic does not decrease its flexural strength, while increasing materials realiability and creating highly reproducible and accurate microstructures. These features may be of interest both for improving clinical survival of zirconia restorations as well as enhancing longevity of zirconia implants.