Polycrystalline Diamond Coating on Orthopaedic Implants: Realization, and Role of Surface Topology and Chemistry in Adsorption of Proteins and Cell Proliferation

07 June 2022, Version 2


Polycrystalline diamond has the potential to improve the osseointegration of orthopaedic implants compared to conventional materials such as titanium. However, despite the excellent biocompatibility and superior mechanical properties, the major challenge of using diamond for implants, such as those used for hip arthroplasty, is the limitations of microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition (CVD) techniques to synthesize diamond on complex-shaped objects. Here, for the first time we demonstrate diamond growth on titanium acetabular shells using surface wave plasma CVD method. Polycrystalline diamond coatings were synthesized at low temperatures (~400 °C) on three types of acetabular shells with different surface structure and porosity. We achieved the growth of diamond on highly porous surfaces designed to mimic the structure of the trabecular bone and improve osseointegration. Biocompatibility was investigated on nanocrystalline diamond (NCD) and ultrananocrystalline diamond (UNCD) coatings terminated either with hydrogen or oxygen. To understand the role of diamond surface topology and chemistry in the attachment and proliferation of mammalian cells, we investigated the adsorption of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, and monitored the metabolic activity of fibroblasts, osteoblasts, and bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). The interaction of bovine serum albumin (BSA) and Type I collagen with the diamond surfaces was investigated by confocal fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM). We found that the proliferation of osteogenic cells was better on hydrogen terminated UNCD than on the oxygen terminated counterpart. These findings correlated with the behaviour of collagen on diamond substrates observed by FLIM. Hydrogen terminated UNCD provided better adhesion and proliferation of osteogenic cells, compared to titanium, while growth of fibroblasts was poorest on hydrogen terminated NCD and MSCs behaved similarly on all tested surfaces. These results open new opportunities for application of diamond coatings on orthopaedic implants.


surface wave plasma
orthopaedic implants
acetabular shell
cell proliferation


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