Effects of solution pH and electrical parameters on hydroxyapatite coatings deposited by a plasma-assisted electrophoresis technique

X. Nie, A. Leyland, A. Matthews, J. C. Jiang, E. I. Meletis

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Hydroxyapatite (HA) coatings can be deposited using a hybrid process of plasma electrolysis and electrophoresis, called plasma-assisted electrophoretic deposition (PEPD). HA aqueous suspensions with various pH values were prepared using a modified ultrasonic cleaning bath as an agitator/stirrer. Both DC and unbalanced AC power supplies were used to bias the titanium alloy substrate materials employed in this work. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray diffractometry (XRD), and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) were used to observe and analyze coating morphology and microstructure. It was shown that the morphology and composition of the calcium phosphate coatings were significantly influenced by solution pH values; the level of "pure" HA in the coatings' composition corresponded to both solution pH and the type of power supply employed. Loss of hydroxyl radials (i.e., dehydroxylation), which degrades the performance of the hydroxyapatite coating in terms of long-term chemical and mechanical stability, can be virtually eliminated by a combination of high pH and unbalanced AC plasma power. In addition, the underlying TiO2 coatings used to support the HA layer (preproduced by plasma electrolysis process) have a nanoscaled (10-20 nm) polycrystalline structure. TEM studies also revealed a dense, continuous amorphous titania layer (10 nm in thickness) at the interface between the Ti alloy substrate and the TiO2 layer, which may play a role in improving the corrosion resistance of the substrate. Such a nanophase TiO2 layer (if used as a coating alone) may also provide a further improvement in osteoinductive properties, compared to a conventional TiO2 coating on the Ti alloy substrate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)612-618
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2001


  • Hydroxyapatite
  • Nanocrystalline coatings
  • Plasma-assisted electrophoretic deposition
  • TEM
  • Titanium alloys;


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