Creating an antibacterial surface on beta TNZT alloys for hip implant applications by laser nitriding

Clare Lubov Donaghy*, Ryan McFadden, Sophia Kelaini, Louise Carson, Andriana Margariti, Chi-Wai Chan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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The National Joint Registry reported that the main causes for hip implant revision surgery include aseptic loosening, infection and adverse soft tissue reaction to particulate debris. There is a great need to improve the implant properties which can be achieved through a combined solution of beta titanium alloy (TNZT) with low elastic modulus and laser surface nitriding to improve mechanical properties and biological response. While titanium nitride (TiN) possesses good biocompatibility and remarkable antibacterial properties; its effectiveness as a coating on Ti-35Nb-7Zr-6Ta has not been investigated in relation to stem cell response and antibacterial capability. TNZT surfaces were laser-nitrided in incremental laser power, specifically 35, 40 and 45 W. Investigation included surface roughness and topography in microscale (WLI and SEM), microstructure (XRD) and wettability (water contact angle). Biological studies of the laser-nitrided surfaces included in vitro culture for 24 h using mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) fluorescence staining and Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) Live/Dead staining. Sample groups consisted of control base metal (BM), laser-nitrided at 35 W (LT35), 40 W (LT40) and 45 W (LT45). Results revealed that laser nitriding generates significantly rougher surfaces (Ra value of BM was 199.3 nm, LT35 was 722.8 nm, LT40 was 458.4 nm and LT45 was 1180.2 nm) with distinctive surface features (Rsk < 0 and Rku > 3). Surfaces after laser nitriding, regardless of laser power, can be tailored to become hydrophilic (27.1–34.2°). Fibre laser nitriding can be used to create antibacterial surface patterns on TNZT in a high power regime. A laser power of 45 W proved to be the most effective in this study, creating an overlapping crescent shape which becomes more obvious with increasing power. To summarise, laser-nitrided surfaces led to a significant antibacterial effect but offered no particular advantage to MSC response.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105793
Number of pages9
JournalOptics and Laser Technology
Early online date11 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

CRediT authorship contribution statement

Clare Lubov Donaghy: Conceptualization, Methodology, Formal analysis, Investigation, Data curation, Writing - original draft, Writing - review & editing, Visualization. Ryan McFadden: Formal analysis, Resources, Writing - review & editing. Sophia Kelaini: Resources. Louise Carson: Methodology, Resources, Writing - review & editing, Funding acquisition. Andriana Margariti: Methodology, Resources, Writing - review & editing, Supervision, Funding acquisition. Chi-Wai Chan: Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Resources, Data curation, Writing - original draft, Writing - review & editing, Visualization, Supervision, Project administration, Funding acquisition.


  • Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC); Antibacterial performance; TNZT; Beta titanium; Fibre laser nitriding


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