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This paper addresses the application of engineered nanocrystalline ultrahydrophilic titanium oxide films to artificial orthopaedic implants. Titanium (Ti) is the material of choice for orthopaedic applications and has been used for over fifty years because of its known bio-compatibility. Recently it was shown that biocompatibility of Ti metal is due to the presence of a thin native sub-stoichiometric titanium oxide layer  which enhances the adsorption of mediating proteins on the surface thus enhancing cell adhesion and growth [2,3,4]. Improving the quality of surface oxide, i.e. fabricating stoichiometric oxides as well as nanoengineering the surface topology that matches the dimensions of adhesive proteins, is crucial for the increase of protein adsorption  and, as a result, the biocompatibility of Ti implant materials. We have fabricated ultrahydrophilic nano-crystalline transparent films of anatase phase of titania (TiO2) by ion beam assisted deposition (IBAD) processes in an ultrahigh vacuum system. Source material was 99.9% pure rutile TiO2. Various ion beam conditions were used to produce these coatings with different grain sizes (4 to 70 nm) that affect the wettability, roughness, and the mechanical and optical properties of the coating . Our biological experiments have shown that biocompatibility of these ultrahydrophilic nanoengineered TiO2 coatings are superior to commonly used orthopaedic titanium and even hydroxyapatite.
We designed and produced pure cubic zirconia (ZrO2) ceramic1
coatings by an ion beam assisted deposition (IBAD) with nanostructures
comparable to the size of proteins. Our ceramic coatings exhibit high
hardness and a zero contact angle with serum. In contrast to hydroxyapatite
(HA), nano-engineered zirconia films possess excellent adhesion to all
orthopaedic materials. Cell adhesion and proliferation experiments were
performed with a bona fide mesenchymal stromal cell line (OMA-AD). Our
experimental results indicate that the nano-engineered cubic zirconia is
superior in supporting growth, adhesion, and proliferation. Since cell
attachment is mediated by adhesive proteins such as fibronectin (FN), to
elucidate why cells attach more effectively to our nanostructures, we
performed a comparative analysis of adsorption energies of FN fragment using
quantum mechanical calculations and Monte Carlo (MC) simulation both on
smooth and nanostructured surfaces. We have found that a FN fragment adsorbs
significantly stronger on the nanostructured surface than on the smooth
Nano-crystalline films of pure cubic ZrO2 have been produced by ion beam assisted deposition (IBAD) processes which combine physical vapor deposition with the concurrent ion beam bombardment in a high vacuum environment and exhibit superior properties and strong adhesion to the substrate. Oxygen and argon gases are used as source materials to generate energetic ions to produce these coatings with differential nanoscale (7 to 70 nm grain size) characteristics that affect the wettability, roughness, mechanical and optical properties of the coating. The nanostructurally stabilized chemically pure cubic phase has been shown to possess hardness as high as 16 GPa and a bulk modulus of 235 GPa. We examine the mechanical properties and the phase stability in zirconia nanoparticles using first principle electronic structure method. The elastic constants of the bulk systems were calculated for monoclinic, tetragonal and cubic phases. We find that calculated bulk modulus of cubic phase (237GPa) agrees well with the measured values, while that of monoclinic (189GPa) or tetragonal (155GPa) are considerably lower. We observe considerable relaxation of lattice in the monoclinic phase near the surface. This effect combined with surface tension and possibly vacancies in nanostructures are sources of stability of cubic zirconia at nanoscale.
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