IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, NanoBiotechnology Laboratory, Via di Barbiano 1/10, 40136 Bologna, Italy; Center for Translational Neurophysiology of Speech and Communication, Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Via Fossato di Mortara 17/19, Ferrara 44121, Italy. Electronic address: [Email]
Biomimetic bone apatite coatings were realized for the first time by the novel Ionized Jet Deposition technique. Bone coatings were deposited on titanium alloy substrates by pulsed electron ablation of deproteinized bovine bone shafts in order to resemble bone apatite as closely as possible. The composition, morphology and mechanical properties of the coatings were characterized by GI-XRD, FT-IR, SEM-EDS, AFM, contact angle measurements, micro-scratch and screw-insertion tests. Different post-treatment annealing conditions (from 350 °C to 425 °C) were investigated. Bone apatite coatings exhibited a nanostructured surface morphology and a composition closely resembling that of the deposition target (i.e. natural bone apatite), also regarding the presence of magnesium and sodium ions. Crystallinity and composition of the coatings were strongly influenced by annealing temperature and duration; in particular, upon annealing at 400 °C and above, a crystallinity similar to that of bone was achieved. Finally, adhesion to the titanium substrate and hydrophilicity were significantly enhanced upon annealing, all characteristics being known to have a strong positive impact on promoting host cells attachment, proliferation and differentiation.