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Characterization of ageing resistant transparent nanocrystalline yttria-stabilized zirconia implants.


The "Window to the Brain" is a transparent cranial implant under development, based on nanocrystalline yttria-stabilized zirconia (nc-YSZ) transparent ceramic material. Previous work has demonstrated the feasibility of this material to facilitate brain imaging over time, but the long-term stability of the material over decades in the body is unknown. In this study, the low-temperature degradation (LTD) of nc-YSZ of 3, 6, and 8 mol % yttria is compared before and after accelerated ageing treatments following ISO standards for assessing the ageing resistance of zirconia ceramics. After 100 hr of accelerated ageing (equivalent to many decades of ageing in the body), the samples do not show any signs of phase transformation to monoclinic by X-ray diffraction and micro-Raman spectroscopy. Moreover, the mechanical hardness of the samples did not decrease, and changes in optical transmittance from 500 to 1000 nm due to ageing treatments was minimal (below 3% for all samples), and unlikely to be due to phase transformation of surface crystals to monoclinic. These results indicate the nc-YSZ has excellent ageing resistance and can withstand long-term implantation conditions without exhibiting LTD.

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