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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2013 Oct 9;5(19):9435-45. doi: 10.1021/am4020007. Epub 2013 Sep 23.

Growth of crystalline hydroxyapatite thin films at room temperature by tuning the energy of the RF-magnetron sputtering plasma.

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  • 1Department of Applied Physics, Brazilian Center for Physics Research , Urca, Rio de Janeiro 22290-180, Brazil.


Right angle radio frequency magnetron sputtering technique (RAMS) was redesigned to favor the production of high-quality hydroxyapatite (HA) thin coatings for biomedical applications. Stoichiometric HA films with controlled crystallinity, thickness varying from 254 to 540 nm, crystallite mean size of 73 nm, and RMS roughness of 1.7 ± 0.9 nm, were obtained at room temperature by tuning the thermodynamic properties of the plasma sheath energy. The plasma energies were adjusted by using a suitable high magnetic field confinement of 143 mT (1430 G) and a substrate floating potential of 2 V at the substrate-to-magnetron distance of Z = 10 mm and by varying the sputtering geometry, substrate-to-magnetron distance from Z = 5 mm to Z = 18 mm, forwarded RF power and reactive gas pressure. Measurements that were taken with a Langmuir probe showed that the adjusted RAMS geometry generated a plasma with an adequate effective temperature of Teff ≈ 11.8 eV and electron density of 2.0 × 10(15) m(-3) to nucleate nanoclusters and to further crystallize the nanodomains of stoichiometric HA. The deposition mechanism in the RAMS geometry was described by the formation of building units of amorphous calcium phosphate clusters (ACP), the conversion into HA nanodomains and the crystallization of the grain domains with a preferential orientation along the HA [002] direction.

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