Diamond thin films: giving biomedical applications a new shine

Paul Nistor, Paul May

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)
320 Downloads (Pure)


rogress made in the last two decades in chemical vapour deposition technology has enabled the production of inexpensive, high-quality coatings made from diamond to become a scientific and commercial reality. Two properties of diamond make it a highly desirable candidate material for biomedical applications: first, it is bioinert, meaning that there is minimal immune response when diamond is implanted into the body, and second, its electrical conductivity can be altered in a controlled manner, from insulating to near-metallic. In vitro, diamond can be used as a substrate upon which a range of biological cells can be cultured. In vivo, diamond thin films have been proposed as coatings for implants and prostheses. Here, we review a large body of data regarding the use of diamond substrates for in vitro cell culture. We also detail more recent work exploring diamond-coated implants with the main targets being bone and neural tissue. We conclude that diamond emerges as one of the major new biomaterials of the twenty-first century that could shape the way medical treatment will be performed, especially when invasive procedures are required.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20170382
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number134
Early online date21 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017


  • CVD diamond
  • cell culture
  • bioimplants
  • neuron growth
  • artificial neural networks
  • bone scaffolds


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