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Open AccessArticle

Structure-Function Correlative Microscopy of Peritubular and Intertubular Dentine

Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, UK
TESCAN Brno, s.r.o., Libušina třída 1, 623 00 Brno, Czech Republic
Department of Mechanical Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117576, Singapore
Neaspec GmbH, Bunsenstr. 5, Martinsried, D-82152 Munich, Germany
School of Dentistry, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, 5 Mill Pool Way, Edgbaston, Birmingham B5 7EG, UK
Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PJ, UK
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2018, 11(9), 1493;
Received: 30 June 2018 / Revised: 14 August 2018 / Accepted: 17 August 2018 / Published: 21 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ICKEM2018 - Hierarchically Structured Materials (HSM))
PDF [3798 KB, uploaded 21 August 2018]


Peritubular dentine (PTD) and intertubular dentine (ITD) were investigated by 3D correlative Focused Ion Beam (FIB)-Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)-Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) tomography, tapping mode Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and scattering-type Scanning Near-Field Optical Microscopy (s-SNOM) mapping. The brighter appearance of PTD in 3D SEM-Backscattered-Electron (BSE) imaging mode and the corresponding higher grey value indicate a greater mineral concentration in PTD (~160) compared to ITD (~152). However, the 3D FIB-SEM-EDS reconstruction and high resolution, quantitative 2D map of the Ca/P ratio (~1.8) fail to distinguish between PTD and ITD. This has been further confirmed using nanoscale 2D AFM map, which clearly visualised biopolymers and hydroxyapatite (HAp) crystallites with larger mean crystallite size in ITD (32 ± 8 nm) than that in PTD (22 ± 3 nm). Correlative microscopy reveals that the principal difference between PTD and ITD arises primarily from the nanoscale packing density of the crystallites bonded together by thin biopolymer, with moderate contribution from the chemical composition difference. The structural difference results in the mechanical properties variation that is described by the parabolic stiffness-volume fraction correlation function introduced here. The obtained results benefit a microstructure-based mechano-chemical model to simulate the chemical etching process that can occur in human dental caries and some of its treatments. View Full-Text
Keywords: peritubular dentine (PTD); intertubular dentine (ITD); FIB-SEM-EDS tomography; tapping mode AFM; s-SNOM; parabolic stiffness-volume fraction correlation function peritubular dentine (PTD); intertubular dentine (ITD); FIB-SEM-EDS tomography; tapping mode AFM; s-SNOM; parabolic stiffness-volume fraction correlation function

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Sui, T.; Dluhoš, J.; Li, T.; Zeng, K.; Cernescu, A.; Landini, G.; Korsunsky, A.M. Structure-Function Correlative Microscopy of Peritubular and Intertubular Dentine. Materials 2018, 11, 1493.

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