Anti-bacterial performance of Zirconia coatings on Titanium implants

Heng Li Huang, Yin Yu Chang*, Jui Ching Weng, Ya Chi Chen, Chih Ho Lai, Tzong Ming Shieh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

48 Scopus citations


Bacterial adhesion and colonization are considered to play key roles in the pathogenesis of peri-implant disease, which is an inflammatory process leading the destruction of both soft and hard tissue around a Titanium (Ti) implant. The osseointegration of Ti implants is influenced by their composition and surface treatment. Zirconia (ZrO2) coatings have been shown to improve implant osseointegration in various biomedical fields, including orthopedic devices and dental implants. This study used a twin-gun magnetron sputtering system to deposit ZrO2-Sliver (Ag) and ZrO2-Copper (Cu) coatings on biograde pure-Ti implant materials. The effects of Ag and Cu on the antibacterial properties of the coated Ti samples were investigated using Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans (A. actinomycetemcomitans), which are found frequently in implant-associated infections. The in vitro antibacterial analyses employed a fluorescence staining method using SYTO9 and bacterial-viability tests on agar plates. Incorporating Ag and Cu into ZrO2 changed the structure of crystalline ZrO 2, and the nanostructures of the resulting ZrO2-Ag and ZrO2-Cu coatings were found to be correlated with the antibacterial performance. The adherence of S. aureus and A. actinomycetemcomitans was less for ZrO2 samples with a small doping of Cu than for uncoated Ti. The ZrO2-Ag coating with an Ag content of 10.6 at.%, which showed hydrophobicity, exhibited the lowest bacterial retention and viability of S. aureus and A. actinomycetemcomitans. The results suggest that ZrO2-Ag and ZrO2-Cu coatings improve the antibacterial performance relative to pure-Ti implant materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-156
Number of pages6
JournalThin Solid Films
StatePublished - 15 01 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibacterial
  • Coating
  • Copper
  • Silver
  • Sputtering
  • Zirconia


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