Impact of Nanoscale Roughness of Titanium Thin Film Surfaces on Bacterial Retention Academic Article uri icon


  • Two human pathogenic bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus CIP 68.5 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 9025, were adsorbed onto surfaces containing Ti thin films of varying thickness to determine the extent to which nanoscale surface roughness influences the extent of bacterial attachment. A magnetron sputter thin film system was used to deposit titanium films with thicknesses of 3, 12, and 150 nm on glass substrata with corresponding surface roughness parameters of R(q) 1.6, 1.2, and 0.7 nm (on a 4 microm x 4 microm scanning area). The chemical composition, wettability, and surface architecture of titanium thin films were characterized using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, contact angle measurements, atomic force microscopy, three-dimensional interactive visualization, and statistical approximation of the topographic profiles. Investigation of the dynamic evolution of the Ti thin film topographic parameters indicated that three commonly used parameters, R(a), R(q), and R(max), were insufficient to effectively characterize the nanoscale rough/smooth surfaces. Two additional parameters, R(skw) and R(kur), which describe the statistical distributions of roughness character, were found to be useful for evaluating the surface architecture. Analysis of bacterial retention profiles indicated that bacteria responded differently to the surfaces on a scale of less than 1 nm change in the R(a) and R(q) Ti thin film surface roughness parameters by (i) an increased number of retained cells by a factor of 2-3, and (ii) an elevated level of secretion of extracellular polymeric substances.


  • Ivanova, Elena P
  • Truong, Vi Khanh
  • Wang, James Y
  • Berndt, Christopher C
  • Jones, Robert T
  • Yusuf, Iman I
  • Peake, Ian
  • Schmidt, Heinrich W
  • Fluke, Christopher
  • Barnes, David
  • Crawford, Russell J

publication date

  • February 2, 2010