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The research on nanoceramics for biomedical applications responds to the challenge of developing fully biocompatible implants, which exhibit biological responses at the nanometric scale in the same way that biogenic materials do. Any current man-made implant is not fully biocompatible and will always set off a foreign body reaction involving inflammatory response, fibrous encapsulation, etc. For this reason, great efforts have been carried out in developing new synthetic strategies that allow tailoring implants surfaces at the nanometric scale. The final aim is always to optimize the interaction at the tissue/implant interface at the nanoscale level, thus improving the life’s quality of the patients with enhanced results and shorter rehabilitation periods.

The four chapters that constitute this book can be read as a whole or independently of each other. In fact, the author’s purpose has been to write a book useful for students of Biomaterials (by developing some basic concepts of biomimetic nanoceramics), but also as a reference book for those specialists interested in specific topics of this field. At the beginning of each chapter, the introduction provides insight on the corresponding developed topic. In some cases, the different introductions deal with some common topics. However, even at the risk of being reiterative, we have decided to include some fundamental concepts in two or more chapters, thus allowing the comprehension of each one independently.

Chapter 1 deals with the description of biological hard tissues in vertebrates, from the point of view of mineralization processes. For this aim, the concepts of hard tissues mineralization are applied to explain how Nature works. This chapter finally provides an overview about the artificial alternatives suitable to be used for mimicking Nature.

In Chapter 2 we introduce general considerations of solids reactivity, which allows tailoring strategies aimed at obtaining apatites in the laboratory. These strategies must be modified and adapted in such a way that artificial carbonated calcium deficient nanoapatites can be obtained resembling as much as possible the biological apatites. For this purpose, a review on the synthesis methods applied for apatite obtention are collected in the bibliography.

In Chapter 3 we have focused on the specific topic of hard tissue-related biomimetism. To reach this goal, we have dealt with nanoceramics obtained as a consequence of biomimetic processes. The reader will find information about the main topics related with the most important bioactive materials and the biomimetic apatites growth onto them. Concepts and valuable information about the most widely used biomimetic solutions and biomimetism evaluation methods are also included.

Finally, Chapter 4 reviews the current and potential clinical applications of apatite-like biomimetic nanoceramics, intended as biomaterials for hard tissue repair, therapy and diagnosis.

The authors wish to thank the Royal Society of Chemistry for the opportunity provided to write this book, as well as their comprehensive technical support. Likewise, we want to express our greatest thanks to Dr Fernando Conde, Pilar Cabañas and José Manuel Moreno for their assistance during the elaboration of this manuscript. We are also thankful to Dr M. Colilla, Dr M. Manzano, Dr B. Gónzalez and Dr A. J. Salinas for their valuable suggestions and scientific discussions. Finally, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to all our co-workers and colleagues that have contributed over the years with their effort and thinking to these studies.

María Vallet-Regí

Daniel Arcos

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