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Multi-functional Biocompatible Coatings


Multi-functional Bioactive Nano-structured Coatings for Load-Bearing Implants

Tech Area / Field

  • MAT-SYN/Materials Synthesis and Processing/Materials
  • MED-OTH/Other/Medicine
  • BIO-CGM/Cytology, Genetics and Molecular Biology/Biotechnology
  • BIO-MIB/Microbiology/Biotechnology

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Mitina L M

Leading Institute
MISIS (Steel and Alloys), Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • Cancer Research Center, Russia, Moscow\nState Research Center for Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Russia, Moscow reg., Obolensk


  • Okayama University, Japan, Okayama

Project summary

The present project between Moscow State Institute of Steel and Alloys (Technological University) – MISA, State Research Center for Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology (SRCAMB), and N.N. Blokhin Russian Cancer Research Center of Russian Academy of Medical Sciences (RCRC) is focused on the development, deposition, characterization, testing, and application of new multi-functional bioactive nanostructure films for load-bearing medical applications.

In order to obtain artificial implants with enhanced physical, chemical, mechanical, tribological, and biological properties resulting in their accelerated self-adaptation in human body and long-term performance, it is necessary to combine the advantages of materials with various properties: biocompatibility, bioactivity, excellent corrosion resistance, high fatigue and tensile strength, low modulus of elasticity and friction coefficient, high wear resistance.

One possible solution to the problem of producing load-bearing implants is to coat a film with multi-functional properties. Our previous work has demonstrated the potential of self-propagating high-temperature synthesis (SHS), magnetron sputtering (MS), and ion implantation assisted magnetron sputtering (IIAMS) of SHS composite targets to produce novel Ti-based milti-component nano-structured films with enhanced multi-functional properties. The results obtained show that milti-component nano-structured Ti-(Ca,Zr)-(C,N,O,P) films possess a combination of high hardness, wear resistance and adhesion strength, reduced Young’s modulus, low friction coefficient, and high bioactivity and biocompatibility.

Films based on the system (Ti,Ta)-(Si,Ca,Zr,Mn)-(C,N,O,P) will be deposited using MS and IIAMS of composite targets TiC0.5, TiC0.5+TaC, and TiC0.5+Ti5Si3 with various inorganic additives CaO, SiO2, ZrO2, TiO2, Ca3(PO3)2, HAP(Ca10(PO4)6(OH)2), KMnO4. The work will encompass:

  1. the development and fabrication of new composite targets by SHS;
  2. the subsequent deposition of multi-component films from these targets;
  3. the structural evolution of the films using X-ray diffraction, TEM, SEM, SIMS, AES, SFM and XPS as a function of PVD processing parameters;
  4. the evaluation of the properties (adhesion, hardness, Young’s modulus, elastic recovery, friction coefficient and wear rate both in air and under physiological solution, roughness, and corrosion resistance) of the coatings;
  5. the investigation of biocompatibility of the films at the RCRC. In vitro studies will be involve the investigation of adhesion, spreading, and proliferation of osteoblasts, fibroblasts, and epithelial cells, morphometric analysis, actin cytoskeleton, and focal contacts staining of the cells cultivated on the films. The differentiation of osteoblasts on the tested films will be investigated. ALP activity of osteoblastic cells will be measured colorimetrically. Von Kossa staining of mineralized nodules in osteoblastic culture will be also investigated. Three groups of the in vivo investigations will be fulfilled. Teflon plates coated with the tested films will be inserted subcutaneous in mice and analysis of the population of cells on the surfaces will be performed. Implantation studies of Ti rings and Ti rods coated with tested films using rat calvarial and hip defect models will be also fulfilled. All works with animals will be conducted with the ethical approval by Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee;
  6. Colonization of implant surfaces by bacteria can be one of the most dangerous results of implantation in the human body. Thus, maximal effort should be undertaken in definite limitation of the potential risk associated with implant colonization by bacteria. The research conducting at SRCAMB will be devoted to investigate the bactericidal activity of Ti based multi-component films.

The best films will be deposited on the surface of Ti-based orthopedic and dental implants. After approval by the Ministry of Health of Russian Federation the implants with coatings will be clinically investigated.

It is expected that a new class of bioactive nano-structured coatings for load-bearing medical applications which possess high hardness, excellent fatigue and tensile strength, superior corrosion and wear resistance, high antibacterial activity, good biocompatibility and non-toxicity will be developed. The proposed research project is interdisciplinary and the research program will be conducted jointly between three research teams: MISA, RCRC, and SRCAMB. Each of these institutions provides a complementary range of expertise and research facilities that include material scientists and surface engineering experts (MISA) as well as cell biologists, microbiologists and medical professionals (RCRC and SRCAMB).

It is expected that the project will lead to new knowledge about the structure and properties of multi-component nano-structured coatings and their bioactivity, biocompatibility and bacterial activity. Nowadays there is a substantial market potential for the biocompatable coating technology. The primary goal of the project is to develop new materials in order to accelerate the adaptation of artificial implants in a human body and to considerably increase their life time. If this task can be solved the coatings will find wide practical medical and biological applications (orthopedic and dental implants, prostheses, etc., which have potential commercial value in the marketplace). An important phase of the project will be to certify the best coating compositions using standard techniques of Methodical Directives of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation. The best coatings will be recommended for extensive human compatibility testing phase. The potential benefit is high because the present project is interdisciplinary and it is expected it will lead to new knowledge in various scientific areas: biomedicine, materials science, ceramic and composite materials, physical chemistry and plasma physics. The project will serve as the basis for new technology (ion implantation assisted magnetron sputtering (IIAMS) of SHS-composite targets). The likelihood of project success is high. The authors of the project have applications to Russian and International patents; several Technical Specifications, Technological Instructions and Registered Know-How have been registered. There are a number of biological test certificates issued at RCRC and Research Institute of Transplantology and Artificial Organs about biocompatibility, chemical and biological safety of the multi-component nano-structured coatings. The project shows a good balance between civilian and defense scientists, the senior and young scientists. In total, 36 scientists will be involved in the present project (3 Professors, 1 Doctor of Science, and 9 Ph.D). Each of the three research teams has the necessary laboratory facilities and complementary research skills and experience to ensure the success of the project, confirmed by the list of facilities and publications below. The project assists in the solution of industrial (new innovative biomaterials and material synthesis technology) and societal problems (improvement of the health of civilians). Spreading of results will be fulfilled through personal home pages (Internet), journal publications, patents, advertising booklets, international meetings, open seminars for industry partners, mutual visits to the partner laboratories, and meetings of group leaders. It is expected that these publication and technology transfer activities will be an important contribution to the growing body of data on biocompatible materials. The possible user groups are those who deal with the development of biomedical materials (implants, prostheses, medical devices).

Foreign collaborators are leading USA, European and Japanese teams from universities, research institutes, and industry in the field of nanomaterials, biomaterials, biomedical engineering, and structural characterization of nanomaterials using HR TEM: The University of Tokyo, National Institute for Materials Science, Okayama University, Ehime University, Colorado School of Mines, Sheffield University, Joint Research Center of European Commission, HVM Plasma, Czech Technical University. The scope of cooperation with foreign collaborators include: information and scientists exchange in the course of project implementation; test sample materials; cross-checks of results obtained; conduction of joint seminars and workshops; writing joint publications and preparation of patents.


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