Reactive ion etching for fabrication of biofunctional titanium nanostructures

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One of the major problems with the bone implant surfaces after surgery is the competition of host and bacterial cells to adhere to the implant surfaces. To keep the implants safe against implant-associated infections, the implant surface may be decorated with bactericidal nanostructures. Therefore, fabrication of nanostructures on biomaterials is of growing interest. Here, we systematically studied the effects of different processing parameters of inductively coupled plasma reactive ion etching (ICP RIE) on the Ti nanostructures. The resultant Ti surfaces were characterized by using scanning electron microscopy and contact angle measurements. The specimens etched using different chamber pressures were chosen for measurement of the mechanical properties using nanoindentation. The etched surfaces revealed various morphologies, from flat porous structures to relatively rough surfaces consisting of nanopillars with diameters between 26.4 ± 7.0 nm and 76.0 ± 24.4 nm and lengths between 0.5 ± 0.1 μm and 5.2 ± 0.3 μm. The wettability of the surfaces widely varied in the entire range of hydrophilicity. The structures obtained at higher chamber pressure showed enhanced mechanical properties. The bactericidal behavior of selected surfaces was assessed against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli bacteria while their cytocompatibility was evaluated with murine preosteoblasts. The findings indicated the potential of such ICP RIE Ti structures to incorporate both bactericidal and osteogenic activity, and pointed out that optimization of the process conditions is essential to maximize these biofunctionalities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18815
Number of pages20
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • OA-Fund TU Delft

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