Ion-substituted calcium phosphate coatings deposited by plasma-assisted techniques: A review

Gabriela Graziani, Michele Bianchi, Enrico Sassoni, Alessandro Russo, Maurilio Marcacci

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


One of the main critical aspects behind the failure or success of an implant resides in its ability to fast bond with the surrounding bone. To boost osseointegration, the ideal implant material should exhibit composition and structure similar to those of biological apatite. To this aim, the most common approach is to coat the implant surface with a coating of hydroxyapatite (HA), resembling the main component of mineralized tissues. However, bone apatite is a non-stoichiometric, multi-substituted poorly-crystalline apatite, containing significant amounts of foreign ions, with high biological relevance. Ion-substituted HAs can be deposited by so called “wet methods”, which are however poorly reproducible and hardly industrially feasible; at the same time bioactive coatings realized by plasma assisted method, interesting for industrial applications, are generally made of stoichiometric (i.e. un-substituted) HA. In this work, the literature concerning plasma-assisted deposition methods used to deposit ion-substituted HA was reviewed and the last advances in this field discussed. The ions taken into exam are those present in mineralized tissues and possibly having biological relevance. Notably, literature about this topic is scarce, especially relating to in vivo animal and clinical trials; further on, available studies evaluate the performance of substituted coatings from different points of view (mechanical properties, bone growth, coating dissolution, etc.) which hinders a proper evaluation of the real efficacy of ion-doped HA in promoting bone regeneration, compared to stoichiometric HA. Moreover, results obtained for plasma sprayed coatings (which is the only method currently employed for deposition at the industrial scale) were collected and compared to those of novel plasma-assisted techniques, that are expected to overcome its limitations. Data so far available on the topic were discussed to highlight advantages, limitations and possible perspectives of these procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-229
Number of pages11
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2017


  • Biomimetic coating
  • Bone
  • Hydroxyapatite
  • Joint replacement
  • Osseointegration
  • Plasma deposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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