Surface topography is an important parameter that affects friction, lubrication and wear of contacting materials. Articular cartilage has a very distinct topography allowing transport of nutritious fluid under elastohydrodynamic lubrication conditions [1]. Topographical measurements are a prerequisite for ex-vivo explant cultures which have become increasingly popular in the field of mechanobiology. Recently, several laboratories established wear tests [2, 3] to evaluate artificial cartilage repair materials intended to articulate against natural cartilage. Stylus profilometry, originally used in 1986 to establish that surface topography is a valuable indicator of cartilage health [1], remains the dominant technique for determining cartilage topography [4] despite significant shortcomings. Contact-based and slow, it can mar the surface and negatively impact tissue viability. However, to understand the underlying damage mechanism(s) it would be of utmost importance to monitor changes in surface topography during wear testing of viable tissue.

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