The excellent biocompatibility of titanium and its alloys is intimately related with the properties of the surface in contact with the biological environment, and therefore it is closely connected with the stable, passivating oxide layer that forms on its surface. In the present paper, the oxide layer on the alloy Ti6Al7Nb has been characterized using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, scanning Auger microscopy and pH-dependent lateral force microscopy. The alloying elements Al and Nb are incorporated in the oxide layer and detected in their most stable oxidized form, as Al2O3 and Nb2O5. Their distribution in the oxide reflects the underlying α-β microstructure, with enrichment of Al in the α- and of Nb in the β-phase (determined by electron microprobe). Friction measurements (lateral force microscopy) indicate slightly different, pH-dependent, lateral forces above the α- and β-phase structures that point to small local variations in surface charges.
Sittig, C., G. Hähner, A. Marti, M. Textor, N. D. Spencer
J. Mater. Sci.- Mater. Med.