In 2005, our group described for the first time the structural characterization at the atomic scale of bioactive glasses and the influence of the glasses’ nanostructure in their reactivity in simulated body fluids. In that study, two bioactive sol-gel glasses with composition 80%SiO2
–20%CaO and 80%SiO2
(in mol-%) were characterized by High-Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy (HRTEM). Such characterization revealed unknown features of the glasses’ structure at the local scale that allowed the understanding of their different in vitro behaviors as a consequence of the presence or absence of P2
. Since then, the nanostructure of numerous bioactive glasses, including melt-prepared, sol-gel derived, and mesoporous glasses, was investigated by HRTEM, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations, and other experimental techniques. These studies have shown that although glasses are amorphous solids, a certain type of short distance order, which greatly influences the in vitro and in vivo reactivity, is always present. This paper reviews the most significant advances in the understanding of bioactive glasses that took place in the last years as a result of the growing knowledge of the glasses’ nanostructure.
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