Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 46, Issue 18, pp 6087–6095 | Cite as

Ion beam etching titanium for enhanced osteoblast response

  • Nicholas A. Riedel
  • John D. Williams
  • Ketul C. PopatEmail author


As the demand for hip and knee replacements continues to grow, researchers look to increase the operational lifetimes of these implants. Many implant failures are attributed to aseptic loosening caused from the repeated loading of these joints. It is believed that by improving the interface between the implant and natural tissue, implant life could be extended. This study evaluates the effects of argon ion etching on Ti6Al4V titanium alloy and the resulting implications this etching has on living cells. Three ion energies (300, 700, and 1100 eV) were used to etch the as-received titanium substrates. Topographical changes were examined by scanning electron microscopy. Etching at 700 and 1100 eV resulted in the formation of a hierarchical structure of micro/nano-texturization of micron-sized depressions with nano-structured ripples. A rat mesenchymal stem cell population was differentiated to an osteoblastic phenotype to test the biocompatibility of the surfaces. It was found that ion etching the titanium results in an improvement of early cellular activity and may enhance osteoblast performance.


Etch Rate Titanium Substrate Scanning Electron Microscopy Evaluation FLUOstar Omega Mesenchymal Stem Cell Population 



The authors wish to thank Dr. Timothy Ruckh for his assistance with harvesting the mesenchymal stem cells, as well as Dr. Cody Farnell and Dr. Casey Farnell for their consultation and support of the ion sputtering process. We would also like to thank Abound Solar for the use of their contact angle testing equipment.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas A. Riedel
    • 1
  • John D. Williams
    • 1
  • Ketul C. Popat
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical Engineering and School of Biomedical EngineeringColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

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