Characterisation of scaffold architecture by optical coherence tomography

Yang Y., Bagnaninchi P. O., Cunha-Reis C., Aydin H. M., Piskin E., El Haj A.

Conference on Optics in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, San-Jose, Costa Rica, 21 - 23 January 2007, vol.6439 identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 6439
  • Doi Number: 10.1117/12.701103
  • City: San-Jose
  • Country: Costa Rica
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Cells, scaffold and culture environment are the three essential elements in engineering tissue constructs. Among these elements, the scaffold plays a critical role in converting cells into tissue since it provides a template and space for cells to grow and produce the desired matrix. Scaffolds are usually fabricated into three-dimensional blocks from biodegradable polymers with different internal architectures, for instance they are with fibrous or porous structures. The mechanical properties and nutrient diffusion ability of scaffolds are highly dependent on their internal structure. The biodegradable feature of scaffolds leads to a dramatic change in their microstructure during in vitro culture or after implantation. In this study, we explore optical coherence tomography (OCT) as a potential tool to characterize architecture of scaffolds including porosity, pore distribution and interconnectivity. This instrument is a fibre based time domain OCT equipped with a 1300 nm superluminescent diode, with a bandwidth of 52 nm and a free space resolution of 16x16x14 mu m. Two model scaffold systems have been investigated. One was porous poly(lactide) scaffold fabricated by solvent-evaporation and salt leaching technique with dual poregens. Another was fibrous chitosan scaffold produced by wet spinning. Variations of scaffolds architecture, in term of porosity and interconnectivity, with different fabrication conditions could be quantified with the help of a commercial software (Volocity, Improvision). This study demonstrated that OCT can be used as a tool to guide scaffold fabrication and optimise their internal structure. Moreover, it can be used as on-line monitoring for scaffold degradation in various culture conditions.