Biocompatibility and antibacterial properties of TiCu(Ag) thin films produced by physical vapor deposition magnetron sputtering

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


  • Saqib Rashid
  • Gian Marco Vita
  • Luca Persichetti
  • Giovanna Iucci
  • Chiara Battocchio
  • Daniela Visaggio
  • Martina Marsotto
  • Paolo Visca
  • Edoardo Bemporad
  • Paolo Ascenzi
  • Giovanni Capellini
  • Marco Sebastiani
  • Alessandra di Masi

External Organisational units

  • University Roma TRE, Engineering Department


Mechanical robustness, biocompatibility, and antibacterial performance are key features for materials suitable to be used in tissue engineering applications. In this work, we investigated the link existing between structural and functional properties of TiCu(Ag) thin films deposited by physical vapor deposition magnetron sputtering (MS-PVD) on Si substrates. Thin films were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), nanoindentation, atomic force microscopy (AFM), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The TiCu(Ag) films showed complete amorphous structure and improved mechanical properties in comparison with pure Ti films. However, for contents in excess of 20% Ag we observed the appearance of nanometric Ag crystallite. The TiCu(Ag) thin films displayed excellent biocompatibility properties, allowing adhesion and proliferation of the human fibroblasts MRC-5 cell line. Moreover, all the investigated TiCu(Ag) alloys display bactericidal properties, preventing the growth of both Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. Results obtained from biological tests have been correlated to the surface structure and microstructure of films. The excellent biocompatibility and bactericidal properties of these multifunctional thin films opens to their use in tissue engineering applications.


Original languageEnglish
Article number151604
Number of pages12
JournalApplied surface science
Issue number30 January
Early online date14 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2022