Hydroxyapatite (HA) thin-film coatings grown biomimetically using simulated body fluid (SBF) are desirable for a range of applications such as improved fixation of fine- and complex-shaped orthopedic and dental implants, tissue engineering scaffolds and localized and sustained drug delivery. There is a dearth of knowledge on two key aspects of SBF-grown HA coatings: (i) the growth kinetics over short deposition periods, hours rather than weeks; and (ii) possible difference between the coatings deposited with and without periodic SBF replenishment. A study centred on these aspects is reported. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) has been used to study the growth kinetics of SBF-grown HA coatings for deposition periods ranging from 0.5 h to 21 days. The coatings were deposited with and without periodic replenishment of SBF. The XPS studies revealed that: (i) a continuous, stable HA coating fully covered the titanium substrate after a growth period of 13 h without SBF replenishment; (ii) thicker HA coatings about 1 μm in thickness resulted after a growth period of 21 days, both with and without SBF replenishment; and (iii) the Ca/P ratio at the surface of the HA coating was significantly lower than that in its bulk. No significant difference between HA grown with and without periodic replenishment of SBF was found. The coatings were determined to be carbonated, a characteristic desirable for improved implant fixation. The atomic force and scanning electron microscopies results suggested that heterogeneous nucleation and growth are the primary deposition mode for these coatings. Primary osteoblast cell studies demonstrated the biocompatibility of these coatings, i.e., osteoblast colony coverage of approximately 80%, similar to the control substrate (tissue culture polystyrene).
- Bone implants
- Growth kinetics
- Hydroxyapatite coatings
- Simulated body fluid
- X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy