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Cell adhesion and growth on ultrananocrystalline diamond and diamond-like carbon films after different surface modifications

Diamond and diamond-like carbon (DLC) films possess a set of excellent physical and chemical properties which together with a high biocompatibility make them attractive candidates for a number of medical and biotechnological applications. In the current work thin ultrananocrystalline diamond (UNCD) and DLC films were comparatively investigated with respect to cell attachment and proliferation after different surface modifications. The UNCD films were prepared by microwave plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition, the DLC films by pulsed laser deposition (PLD). The films were comprehensively characterized with respect to their basic properties, e.g. crystallinity, morphology, chemical bonding nature, etc. Afterwards the UNCD and DLC films were modified applying O2 or NH3/N2 plasmas and UV/O3 treatments to alter their surface termination. The surface composition of as-grown and modified samples was studied by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Furthermore the films were characterized by contact angle measurements with water, formamide, 1-decanol and diiodomethane; from the results obtained the surface energy with its dispersive and polar components was calculated. The adhesion and proliferation of MG63 osteosarcoma cells on the different UNCD and DLC samples were assessed by measurement of the cell attachment efficiency and MTT assays. The determined cell densities were compared and correlated with the surface properties of as-deposited and modified UNCD and DLC films.