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Investigation of Ag/a-C:H nanocomposite coatings on titanium for orthopedic applications

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

One of the leading causes of failure for any bone implant is implant-associated infections. The implant-bone interface is in fact the crucial site of infection where both the microorganisms and cells compete to populate the newly introduced implant surface. Most of the work dealing with this issue has focused on the design of implant coatings capable of preventing infection while ignoring cell proliferation or vice versa. The present study is therefore focused on investigating the antibacterial and biological properties of nanocomposite coatings based on an amorphous hydrocarbon (a-C:H) matrix containing silver nanoparticles (AgNPs). a-C:H coatings with varying silver concentrations were generated directly on medical grade titanium substrates using a combination of a gas aggregation source (GAS) and a plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PE-CVD) process. The obtained results revealed that the surface silver content increased from 1.3 at % to 5.3 at % by increasing the used DC magnetron current in the GAS from 200 to 500 mA. The in vitro antibacterial assays revealed that the nanocomposites with the highest number of silver content exhibited excellent antibacterial activities resulting in a 6-log reduction of Escherichia coli and a 4-log reduction of Staphylococcus aureus after 24 h of incubation. An MTT assay, fluorescence live/dead staining, and SEM microscopy observations of MC3T3 cells seeded on the uncoated and coated Ti substrates also showed that increasing the amount of AgNPs in the nanocomposites had no notable impact on their cytocompatibility, while improved cell proliferation was especially observed for the nanocomposites possessing a low amount of AgNPs. These controllable Ag/a-C:H nanocomposites on Ti substrates, which simultaneously provide an excellent antibacterial performance and good biocompatibility, could thus have promising applications in orthopedics and other biomedical implants.
ISSN: 1944-8252
Issue: 21
Volume: 12
Pages: 23655 - 23666