Biological Materials Analysis


Developing highly biocompatible implants, surgical instruments and consumables requires knowledge of the interactions between biomolecules, cells and artificial materials. The Biological Materials Analysis workgroup therefore pursues a cross-disciplinary approach. Materials, medical products and diagnostic techniques are optimized for use with and in humans – at the intersection of materials science, immunobiology, cell biology and biotechnological analysis methods.

At the core of our work are our specially developed methods and bioassays. We use them to characterize and validate (immuno-)biological properties of implant materials and medical products. This enables the analysis and targeted modification of (bioceramic) materials, functionalizing them for a defined purpose of use.

Biological and immunological test methods for implant materials

The Biological Materials Analysis workgroup is active in the field of implant development, working to advance immunologically effective bioceramic materials. It develops standardized test methods for novel (bioceramic) implant materials, in particular for dental and endoprosthetic applications.

The long-term goal is to develop material surfaces with modular or hierarchic structures, which enable patient- or disease-specific therapeutic applications. Thus, it will be possible to validate diagnostic rapid tests and methods for materials characterization, and introduce and establish them in day-to-day practice.

Biointerface studies on bioceramics – an example

The importance of ceramic biomaterials for the field of implantology is growing. Factors, such as material surface, protein adsorption or cell and tissue type affect the interaction within the ‘biointerface’, i.e. the boundary interface layer between the biological system and the ceramic material surface.

The assessment of the biocompatibility of a material is currently performed through in-vitro testing based on ISO standards (ISO10993). Standardized test methods focusing on the interaction of the material with blood are few and far between, as the patient-specific blood responses are very complex and diverse. When the biomaterial comes into contact with blood, this will activate blood coagulation and an inflammatory reaction. The first phase of this reaction – the primary adhesion of blood proteins – is essential for the initialization of an immune response. For this reason, standardized laboratory methods should be developed further for this initial phase, and new technologies should be established with a resolution on the nanoscale. These will allow detailed analysis of the protein adsorption on bioceramic and other material surfaces.

© Fraunhofer IKTS
Auswahl unterschiedlicher Keramikproben für Zellversuche.
© Fraunhofer IKTS
3D-Topographie des Strukturelements bei primäre Zellbesiedelung nach 24 Stunden.
© Fraunhofer IKTS
Analyse der Zellmorphologie und Zellausbreitung an Oberflächen mittels Fluoreszenzmarkierung.

Services offered in biological materials analysis services for implant materials and medical products

Biological evaluation of materials (medical products) in accordance with DIN EN ISO 10993

  • Haemo- and cytocompatibility testing in accordance with ISO 10993 to assess biocompatibility
  • Participation in standards development (cooperation in the DIN committee); point of contact: Susanne Kurz

Analysis of the osseointegration of materials and their surfaces

  • Characterization of osteopromotive, osteoinductive and osteoconductive properties
  • Differentiation assays with human osteoblast cell lines and mesenchymal bone marrow stem cells
  • Development/establishment of standardized test scenarios

(Osteo-)immunological assessment of materials and their surfaces

  • Development of new immunological and cell-biological assays for direct application on material surfaces
  • Biointerface studies: Analysis of the protein adsorption at ceramic surfaces including the effects on target cells at material surfaces
  • Building of co-cultivation systems; microfluidics
  • Establishment and validation of marker-free/non-destructive analysis methods (cell-material interaction)
  • Development of diagnostic rapid tests for implant materials
  • In-vivo analyses (murine mouse model) to assess the integrity of implant materials

Development of methods

  • Diagnostic rapid tests for implant materials
  • Feasibility studies
  • Development of suitable methods for immunobiological materials testing
  • Influencing and controlling the adsorption of specific proteins
  • Topical functionalization (‘drug depots’) of bioceramic surfaces

Fraunhofer IKTS boasts many years of experience in the development of bioceramic materials and components (certified according to ISO 13485:2012). The combination of various methods of acoustic, optical and electrical material characterization and visualization leads to unique solutions for improving the mechanic stability, service life and biocompatibility of implants.

BNAL Bio-Nanotechnology Application Lab


The BNAL Bio-Nanotechnology Application Lab in Leipzig is a research facility operated jointly by Fraunhofer IZI and Fraunhofer IKTS. In nanotechnologies, the two institutes have opened up new areas of application within the field of biomedicine. Modern equipment enables cross-disciplinary approaches to solving biological and medical issues. The BNAL can provide research and development services, from fundamental research in biomedicine, to method development, to the development and validation of the latest technologies and system solutions.

Fraunhofer IZI boasts extensive know-how in biology and medicine, while Fraunhofer IKTS offers its competences in the development of ceramic materials and innovative measurement methods. By combining their forces, both institutes have formed a great basis for new technologies and methods in diagnostics and therapy.

The BNAL was financially supported by the European Regional Development Fund, with funding from the European Union and the Free State of Saxony.


Areas of the BNAL Bio-Nanotechnology Application Lab



Selected projects and cooperative research initiatives


  • German Research SME Tandems: InnoHealth Australia:
    German-Australian cooperative research initiative in the project »Tissue.Implant.Interface«
  • ImplantHoloCut:
    German-Korean cooperative research initiative aimed at developing a fast, marker-free and specific test procedure for the standardized evaluation of non-transparent biomaterials. On the Korean side, the co-operation partners are HICS Company and Pixel Inc. On the German side, LLS ROWIAK LaserLabSolutions GmbH is participating in the project, beside Fraunhofer IKTS.




This link (ResearchGate) leads to publications on biological materials analysis by Dr. Juliane Spohn.


Learn more about biological materials analysis for implant materials and medical products:


  • AFM
  • Ellipsometry
  • Specific protein adsorption on bioceramics (coming soon)
  • Topical functionalization of ceramic surfaces (coming soon)
  • Mouse model for testing the integrity of novel implant materials (coming soon)

Current research

Analysis of cell attachment and cell spreading on silicon nitride

Current research

Biomaterial testing 2.0 – standardized, resource-efficient: ClicKit-Well


Ellipsometry in biological materials analysis