A trip to the dentist is not an experience many people look forward to, especially when major work is involved, but a world-first QUT-led project aims to take away some of the pain using the power of light.
Australian Laureate Fellow Professor Christopher Barner-Kowollik and his team have just been awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage grant of $364,503 to support its partnership with Liechtenstein-based Ivoclar Vivadent to develop ground-breaking new 'on-demand visible light degradable dental materials'.
"Our project aims to break new ground in the field of advanced adhesives by pioneering a unique system that can be cleaved with a defined visible light trigger, enabling the removal of previously bonded material without mechanical force," said Professor Christopher Barner-Kowollik.
"So instead of having to use pliers or some other tool on a patient to lever out old work, the dentist would be able to simply wave a beam of light over the area to create that separation.
"Apart from making a visit to the dentist less painful, it would allow two materials to be strongly bonded, including dental crowns, braces and implants."
His QUT Science and Engineering faculty colleague Dr James Blinco added the project would advance on-demand degradable materials design, introducing an advanced class of responsive networks for applications where reversible bonding is critical.
"This in turn will have flow-on benefits in future dental material applications and also have applications where simple-to-remove, temporary adhesives are required." Said Dr Blinco.
In 2017, Professor Barner-Kowollik was awarded an ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship worth more than $3 million to investigate how monochromatic light provided by lasers could be used to program and reprogram coatings and materials. Another QUT team he leads, which is exploring how light can be used in OLED manufacturing, was also last year awarded an ARC Linkage grant of $159, 916 to support its partnership with German firm Cynora.
Professor Barner-Kowollik's team awarded the latest ARC Linkage grant includes Dr James Blinco, Dr Eva Blasco, Dr Andreas-Neil Unterreiner (both Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany) and Dr Yohann Catel (Ivoclar Vivadent)
QUT is part of a national collaborative group of five major Australian universities that form the ATN (Australian Technology Network of Universities).
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