RL Karlinsey, AC Mackey, KE Frederick. Structured niobium oxide: morphology, bioactivity, and oxide-metal adhesion properties. In Recent Developments in Advanced Medical and Dental Materials Using Electrochemical Methodologies, Editor: RL Karlinsey. Kerala: Research Signpost, p 41-57 (2009).
There exists opportunities to generate surface-active biomaterials to improve implant performance and utility. Since metallic implants can readily be modified electrochemically to produce various oxide films, there is strong interest in developing metal oxide coatings with superior biomaterial properties. Here, we demonstrate that electrochemical anodization of niobium metal can lead to the evolution of a self-organized niobium oxide manifesting morphological structures unlike any existing oxide generated from other promising implant metals. Scanning electron microscopy shows these resulting oxide structures have a profound ability to nucleate apatite from supersaturated solutions emulating the mineral content found in blood and saliva, and importantly, the structured niobium oxide can also differentiate and stimulate osteoblast activity. The integrity of the oxide-metal interface is well-developed and mechanically strong as determined using optical microscopy, surface microhardness, scratch testing, and profilometry. In the intense search for discovering superior implant coatings, we believe the structured niobium oxide discussed in this paper serves as one example of creating a powerful new biomaterial using a straightforward electrochemical methodology.
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