Biomineralization research of composite fillings
As dental researchers work to create higher-quality composite fillings and implants, they need to validate that biomineralization occurs—the process whereby these manmade materials bond with natural biomaterials, such as dentin and enamel, inside the tooth.
One of the challenges they face is obtaining a high-resolution image of the 3D structure with sufficient contrast: backscattered electron detector (BSD) images emphasize elemental contrast, whereas secondary electron detector (SED) images emphasize topological differences.
As a result, operators need to switch detectors multiple times when studying the same sample, with no individual image providing all the insights needed.
By mixing BSD And SED signals into a single image, dental researchers can better understand the biomineralization process as they study the interaction zone of a composite filling and a human tooth.
(Images courtesy of University of Leipzig, Department of Cariology, Endodontics and Periodontology, Germany)
Combining secondary and backscattered electron signals into a single image
The good news is that the Thermo Scientific Phenom XL G2 Desktop Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) enables dental scientists to accelerate their research. By mixing SED and BSD signals to produce a single image, the Phenom XL G2 Desktop SEM enables researchers to get the full information required as they study biomineralization.
With the Phenom XL G2 Desktop SEM’s large sample holder, researchers can load several samples for simultaneous analysis. And with the desktop SEM’s easy-to-use UI, inexperienced users can obtain high-resolution images with ease. Combined, these features enable dental researchers to obtain results fast, making it possible to develop higher-quality composite fillings.
Understanding how a composite filling interacts with the human tooth
For example, one of our customers, the University of Leipzig’s Department of Cariology, Endodontics and Periodontology, is using the Phenom XL G2 Desktop SEM as it researches the biomineralization process for composite fillings.
Using the Phenom XL G2 Desktop SEM in BSD mode, University of Leipzig researchers can easily distinguish all four materials—the dentin, composite, adhesive layer, and hybrid layer—since the BSD emphasizes elemental contrast. With the desktop SEM in SED mode, they can distinctly view the surface structure including the fine structure of the dentin. And by mixing BSD and SED signals, researchers get the advantages of both modes. The result is a clear view of the individual layers and a highly differentiated representation of all the materials at the same time.
With the ability to combine SED and BSD images into a single image, University of Leipzig scientists are obtaining the sharp, high-resolution images needed for their composite filling research—ultimately leading to a better understanding of the biomineralization process under different conditions.
To learn more, visit our Phenom XL Desktop SEM webpage.
Willem van Zyl is an application engineer at Thermo Fisher Scientific.