Biomaterials Translational ›› 2021, Vol. 2 ›› Issue (3): 248-256.doi: 10.12336/biomatertransl.2021.03.007

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Biofunctional magnesium coating of implant materials by physical vapour deposition

Qingchuan Wang1, Weidan Wang1,2, Yanfang Li3, Weirong Li3, Lili Tan1,*(), Ke Yang1,*()   

  1. 1 Department of Advanced Materials Research, Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang, Liaoning Province, China
    2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Affiliated Zhongshan Hospital of Dalian University, Dalian, Liaoning Province, China
    3 Dongguan Eontec Co. Ltd., Dongguan, Guangdong Province, China
  • Received:2021-06-04 Revised:2021-07-31 Accepted:2021-09-10 Online:2021-09-28 Published:2021-09-28
  • Contact: Lili Tan,Ke Yang E-mail:lltan@imr.ac.cn;kyang@imr.ac.cn
  • About author:Ke Yang, kyang@imr.ac.cn.
    Lili Tan, lltan@imr.ac.cn;


The lack of bioactivity of conventional medical materials leads to low osseointegration ability that may result in the occurrence of aseptic loosening in the clinic. To achieve high osseointegration, surface modifications with multiple biofunctions including degradability, osteogenesis, angiogenesis and antibacterial properties are required. However, the functions of conventional bioactive coatings are limited. Thus novel biofunctional magnesium (Mg) coatings are believed to be promising candidates for surface modification of implant materials for use in bone tissue repair. By physical vapour deposition, many previous researchers have deposited Mg coatings with high purity and granular microstructure on titanium alloys, polyetheretherketone, steels, Mg alloys and silicon. It was found that the Mg coatings with high-purity could considerably control the degradation rate in the initial stage of Mg alloy implantation, which is the most important problem for the application of Mg alloy implants. In addition, Mg coating on titanium (Ti) implant materials has been extensively studied both in vitro and in vivo, and the results indicated that their corrosion behaviour and biocompatibility are promising. Mg coatings continuously release Mg ions during the degradation process, and the alkaline environment caused by Mg degradation has obvious antibacterial effects. Meanwhile, the Mg coating has beneficial effects on osteogenesis and osseointegration, and increases the new bone-regenerating ability. Mg coatings also exhibit favourable osteogenic and angiogenic properties in vitro and increased long-term bone formation and early vascularization in vivo. Inhibitory effects of Mg coatings on osteoclasts have also been proven, which play a great role in osteoporotic patients. In addition, in order to obtain more biofunctions, other alloying elements such as copper have been added to the Mg coatings. Thus, Mg-coated Ti acquired biofunctions including degradability, osteogenesis, angiogenesis and antibacterial properties. These novel multi-functional Mg coatings are expected to significantly enhance the long-term safety of bone implants for the benefit of patients. This paper gives a brief review of studies of the microstructure, degradation behaviours and biofunctions of Mg coatings, and directions for future research are also proposed.

Key words: biofunction, coating, degradability, magnesium, osteogenesis, review