A nanostructured coating layer on titanium implants, able to improve their integration into bones and to protect against the harsh conditions of body fluids, was obtained by Ion Plating Plasma Assisted, a method suitable for industrial applications. A titanium carbide target was attached under vacuum to a magnetron sputtering source powered with a direct current in the 500-1100 W range, and a 100 W radio frequency was applied to the sample holder. The samples produced at 900 W gave the best biological response in terms of overexpression of some genes of proteins involved in bone turnover. We report the characterization of a reference and of an implant sample, both obtained at 900 W. Different micro/nanoscopic techniques evidenced the morphology of the substrates, and X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy was used to disclose the surface composition. The layer is a 500 nm thick hard nanostructure, composed of 60% graphitic carbon clustered with 15% TiC and 25% Ti oxides. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.