The aim of this study was to prepare a novel titanium-10tantalum-10niobium (Ti-Ta-Nb) alloy nanoscale coatings using sputter deposition and to evaluate their effect on osteoblast response. The three groups of Ti alloy used in this study were: (1) as-sputtered Ti-Ta-Nb coatings; (2) Ti-Ta-Nb disks; and (3) Ti6Al4V alloy disks as controls. The three surfaces were characterized using a x-ray diffractometer, a scanning electron microscope, a surface profilometer, and a contact angle measuring instrument. ATCC CRL 1486 human embryonic palatal mesenchymal cells were used to evaluate the cell responses. Cell attachment was measured using a coulter counter. After 4 days incubation, dsDNA, total protein, and alkaline phosphatase of the attached cells were assayed. The as-sputtered Ti-Ta-Nb coatings consisted of dense nanoscale grains. The Ti-Ta-Nb coatings exhibited significantly greater cell attachments compared to the two polished microgroove groups at 30minutes and 1hour. No significant differences were observed in dsDNA amount, total protein production and alkaline phosphatase specific activity among the three groups. These results demonstrated an equivalent performance for the Ti-Ta-Nb alloy and its nanoscale Ti-Ta-Nb coatings, suggesting an alternative biocompatible metal for use in dentistry and orthopedics.

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