Hard implant coatings with antimicrobial properties
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Infection of orthopaedic implants often leads to inflammation immediately after surgery and increases patient morbidity due to repetitive operations. Silver ions have been shown to combine good biocompatibility with a low risk of inducing bacterial resistance. In this study a physical vapour deposition system using both arc deposition and magnetron sputtering has been utilized to produce silver ion doped TiN coatings on Ti substrates. This biphasic system combines the advantages of silver induced bactericidity with the good mechanical properties of TiN. Crystallographic analysis by X-ray diffraction showed that silver was deposited as well in its elementary form as it was incorporated into the crystal lattice of TiN, which resulted in increasing hardness of the TiN-coatings. Elution experiments revealed a continuous release of Ag ions in phosphate buffered saline. The coatings showed significant inhibitory effects on the growth of Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus and practically no cell-toxicity in cytocompatibility tests.