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Surface Analysis and Osteoblasts Response of a Titanium Oxi-Carbide Film Deposited on Titanium by Ion Plating Plasma Assisted (IPPA)

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Titanium is the most widely used material in orthopaedic and dental implantoprosthesis due to its superior physical properties and enhanced biocompatibility due to the spontaneous formation of a passivating layer of titanium oxides which, however, does not form good chemical bonds with bone and tends to brake exposing bulk titanium to harsh body fluids releasing titanium particles which may prime an inflammation response and a fibrotic tissue production. In order to avoid these possible problems and to enhance the biocompatibility of titanium implants, modifications of titanium surfaces by many different materials as hydroxyapatite, titanium nitride, titanium oxide and titanium carbide have been proposed. The latter is shown to be an efficient protection for the titanium implant in the harsh conditions of biological tissues and, compared to untreated titanium, acting like an osteoblast stimulation factor increasing in vitro production of proteins involved in osteogenesis. These results were confirmed by in vivo experiments in rabbits: implants covered by the titanium carbide (TiC) layer were faster and better osseointegrated than untreated titanium implants. The TiC layer was deposited by a Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) device which allowed only one deposition per cycle, shown to be unsuitable for industrial applications. Therefore the main objective of the present work was to replace PLD process with an Ion Plating Plasma Assisted (IPPA) deposition process, which is suitable for industrial upgrading. By this technique, nanostructured TiOx-TiCy-C has been deposited on titanium after sandblasting with 120 micron zirconia spheres. XPS analyses revealed the presence of about 33% carbon (50% of which is present as free carbon), 39% oxygen and 28% titanium (37% of which is bound to carbon to form TiC and 63% is bound to oxygen to form non stoichiometric oxides). Surface mechanical response of as-deposited coatings has been performed by nanoindentation techniques. Focused Ion Beam micrographs showed bigger differences on the obtained nanostructure compared to the PLD coating structure; in vitro tests confirm for IPPA produced coatings an improvement in stimulating osteoblasts to produce mRNA's of proteins involved in the ossification process, this latter case they resulted to be faster and more efficient. The proposed treatement is expected to improve the good results obtained by PLD, in vivo as well.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-10-01

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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