Sputtered titanium oxynitride coatings for endosseous applications: Physical and chemical evaluation and first bioactivity assays
Titanium oxynitride coatings (TiNxO3,) are considered a promising material for applications in dental implantology due to their high corrosion resistance, their biocompatibility and their superior hardness. Using the sputtering technique, TiNxO3, films with variable chemical compositions can be deposited. These films may then be set to a desired value by varying the process parameters, that is, the oxygen and nitrogen gas flows. To improve the control of the sputtering process with two reactive gases and to achieve a variable and controllable coating composition, the plasma characteristics were monitored in-situ by optical emission spectroscopy. TiNxO3, films were deposited onto commercially pure (ASTM 67) microroughened titanium plates by reactive magnetron sputtering. The nitrogen gas flow was kept constant while the oxygen gas flow was adjusted for each deposition run to obtain films with different oxygen and nitrogen contents. The physical and chemical properties of the deposited films were analyzed as a function of oxygen content in the titanium oxynitride. The potential application of the coatings in dental implantology was assessed by monitoring the proliferation and differentiation of human primary osteoblasts. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.