Surface modification of bulk titanium substrates for biomedical applications via low-temperature microwave hydrothermal oxidation

Alice Cheng, W. Brandon Goodwin, Ben M. deGlee, Rolando A. Gittens, Jonathan P. Vernon, Sharon L. Hyzy, Zvi Schwartz, Kenneth H. Sandhage, Barbara D. Boyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Micro-to-nanoscale surface topographies of orthopaedic and dental implants can affect fluid wetting and biological response. Nanoscale features can be superimposed on microscale roughness of titanium (Ti) surfaces at high temperatures, resulting in increased osteoblast differentiation. However, high temperatures can compromise mechanical properties of the bulk material. Here, we have developed a novel low-temperature microwave hydrothermal (MWHT) oxidation process for nanomodification of microrough (SLA) Ti surfaces. Nanoscale protuberances (20 –100 nm average diameter) were generated on SLA surfaces via MWHT treatment at 200°C in H2O, or in aqueous solutions of H2O2 or NH4OH, for times ranging from 1 to 40 h. The size, shape, and crystalline content of the nanoprotuberances varied with the solution used and treatment time. The hydrophilicity of all MWHT-modified surfaces was dramatically enhanced. MG63 and normal human osteoblasts (NHOsts) were cultured on MWHT-treated SLA surfaces. While most responses to MWHT-modified surfaces were comparable to those seen on SLA controls, the MWHT-generated nanotopography reduced osteocalcin production by NHOst cells, suggesting that specific nanotopographic characteristics differentially mediate osteoblast phenotypic expression. MWHT processing provides a scalable, low-temperature route for tailoring nanoscale topographies on microroughened titanium implant surfaces with significantly enhanced wetting by water, without degrading the microscale surface structure of such implants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)782-796
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • biomaterials
  • nanostructured materials
  • oxidation
  • surface modification
  • wetting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Metals and Alloys


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