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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2013, Article ID 820914, 9 pages
Research Article

Simulation of the Electric Field Distribution Near a Topographically Nanostructured Titanium-Electrolyte Interface: Influence of the Passivation Layer

Interface Research Group, Institute of Electronic Appliances and Circuits, University of Rostock, Albert-Einstein Straße 2, 18059 Rostock, Germany

Received 11 January 2013; Revised 15 April 2013; Accepted 15 April 2013

Academic Editor: Nageh K. Allam

Copyright © 2013 Andreas Körtge et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A major challenge in biomaterials research is the regulation of protein adsorption at metallic implant surfaces. Recently, a number of studies have shown that protein adsorption can be influenced by metallic nanotopographies, which are discussed to increase electric field strengths near sharp edges and spikes. Since many metallic biomaterials form a native passivation layer with semiconducting properties, we have analyzed the influence of this layer on the near-surface electric field distribution of a nanostructure using finite element simulations. The Poisson-Boltzmann equation was solved for a titanium nanostructure covered by a TiO2 passivation layer in contact with a physiological NaCl solution (bulk concentration 0.137 mol/L). In contrast to a purely metallic nanostructure, the electric field strengths near sharp edges and spikes can be lower than in planar regions if a passivation layer is considered. Our results demonstrate that the passivation layer has a significant influence on the near-surface electric field distribution and must be considered for theoretical treatments of protein adsorption on passivated metals like titanium.