Fabrication and characterization of DLC coated microdimples on hip prosthesis heads

J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2015 Jul;103(5):1002-12. doi: 10.1002/jbm.b.33274. Epub 2014 Sep 12.


Diamond like carbon (DLC) is applied as a thin film onto substrates to obtain desired surface properties such as increased hardness and corrosion resistance, and decreased friction and wear rate. Microdimple is an advanced surface modification technique enhancing the tribological performance. In this study, DLC coated microdimples were fabricated on hip prosthesis heads and their mechanical, material and surface properties were characterized. An Electro discharge machining (EDM) oriented microdrilling was utilized to fabricate a defined microdimple array (diameter of 300 µm, depth of 70 µm, and pitch of 900 µm) on stainless steel (SS) hip prosthesis heads. The dimpled surfaces were then coated by hydrogenated amorphous carbon (a-C:H) and tetrahedral amorphous carbon (Ta-C) layers by using a magnetron sputtering technology. A preliminary tribology test was conducted on these fabricated surfaces against a ceramic ball in simulated hip joint conditions. It was found that the fabricated dimples were perpendicular to the spherical surfaces and no cutting-tools wear debris was detected inside the individual dimples. The a-C:H and Ta-C coatings increased the hardness at both the dimple edges and the nondimpled region. The tribology test showed a significant reduction in friction coefficient for coated surfaces regardless of microdimple arrays: the lowest friction coefficient was found for the a-C:H samples (µ = 0.084), followed by Ta-C (µ = 0.119), as compared to the SS surface (µ = 0.248).

Keywords: diamond like carbon; hip prosthesis; implant interface; micro dimple; surface modification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carbon / chemistry*
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible / chemistry*
  • Hip Prosthesis*
  • Humans
  • Surface Properties


  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible
  • Carbon