Electron Beam Structuring of Ti6Al4V: New Insights on the Metal Surface Properties Influencing the Bacterial Adhesion

Sara Ferraris, Fernando Warchomicka, Fatemeh Iranshahi, Rimondini Lia, Andrea Cochis, Silvia Spriano*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Soft tissue adhesion and infection prevention are currently challenging for dental transmucosal or percutaneous orthopedic implants. It has previously been shown that aligned micro-grooves obtained by Electron Beam (EB) can drive fibroblast alignment for improved soft tissue adhesion. In this work, evidence is presented that the same technique can also be effective for a reduction of the infection risk. Grooves 10–30 µm wide and around 0.2 µm deep were obtained on Ti6Al4V by EB. EB treatment changes the crystalline structure and microstructure in a surface layer that is thicker than the groove depth. Unexpectedly, a significant bacterial reduction was observed. The surfaces were characterized by field emission scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, confocal microscopy, contact profilometry, wettability and bacterial adhesion tests. The influence of surface topography, microstructure and crystallography on bacterial adhesion was systematically investigated: it was evidenced that the bacterial reduction after EB surface treatment is not correlated with the grooves, but with the microstructure induced by the EB treatment, with a significant bacterial reduction when the surface microstructure has a high density of grain boundaries. This correlation between microstructure and bacterial adhesion was reported for the first time for Ti alloys.
Original languageEnglish
Article number409
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2020


  • Bacteria adhesion
  • Electron beam structuring
  • Fibroblast alignment
  • Microstructure
  • Titanium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

Fields of Expertise

  • Human- & Biotechnology
  • Advanced Materials Science

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Basic - Fundamental (Grundlagenforschung)
  • Experimental


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