Improving the radiopacity of Fe-Mn biodegradable metals by magnetron-sputtered W-Fe-Mn-C coatings: Application for thinner stents

Bioact Mater. 2021 Oct 26:12:64-70. doi: 10.1016/j.bioactmat.2021.10.022. eCollection 2022 Jun.


In this exploratory work, micrometric radiopaque W-Fe-Mn-C coatings were produced by magnetron sputtering plasma deposition, for the first time, with the aim to make very thin Fe-Mn stents trackable by fluoroscopy. The power of Fe-13Mn-1.2C target was kept constant at 400 W while that of W target varied from 100 to 400 W producing three different coatings referred to as P100, P200, P400. The effect of the increased W power on coatings thickness, roughness, structure, corrosion behavior and radiopacity was investigated. The coatings showed a power-dependent thickness and W concentration, different roughness values while a similar and uniform columnar structure. An amorphous phase was detected for both P100 and P200 coatings while γ-Fe, bcc-W and W3C phases found for P400. Moreover, P200 and P400 showed a significantly higher corrosion rate (CR) compared to P100. The presence of W, W3C as well as the Fe amount variation determined two different micro-galvanic corrosion mechanisms significantly changing the CR of coatings, 0.26 ± 0.02, 59.68 ± 1.21 and 59.06 ± 1.16 μm/year for P100, P200 and P400, respectively. Sample P200 with its most uniform morphology, lowest roughness (RMS = 3.9 ± 0.4 nm) and good radiopacity (∼6%) appeared the most suitable radiopaque biodegradable coating investigated in this study.

Keywords: Degradable coatings; Fe–Mn-Based alloys; Magnetron sputtering; Radiopacity; Stent fluoroscopy; W–Fe–Mn–C coatings.