There is permanent progress with the fabrication of smart bioactive surfaces that
could govern tissue regeneration. Thin coatings of two or more materials with compositional
gradient allow the construction of arrays with different chemical and physical features on a
solid substrate. With such intelligent bio-platforms, cells can be exposed to a tissue-like
biomimetic micro-environment with precise characteristics that directs cells fate towards specific
We have introduced combinatorial matrix-assisted pulsed laser evaporation (C-MAPLE) as an
alternative approach for the fabrication in a single-step process of either organic or inorganic
thin and nanostructured coatings with variable composition. A continuous reciprocal gradient
of two biomolecules can be achieved by C-MAPLE with discrete areas exhibiting physicochemical
specificity that modulates intracellular signaling events.
Herein, we present a review of the current combinatorial laser strategies and methods for fabricating
thin organic and inorganic films with compositional gradient with emphasis on the
surface influence on cell responsiveness. In particular, the specific biological potential of surface
functionalization with thin coatings of biopolymers, proteins and drugs will be discussed.
Laser deposition combinatorial processes are considered an emerging unconventional technology
that can be widely applied to produce composite multilayers and micro-patterns for
faster cell colonization and tissue engineering.