Surface Structure of Hydroxyapatite from Simulated Annealing Molecular Dynamics Simulations

Research paper by Hong Wu, Dingguo Xu, Mingli Yang, Xingdong Zhang

Indexed on: 27 Apr '16Published on: 20 Apr '16Published in: Langmuir


The surface structure of hydroxyapatite (HAP) is crucial for its bioactivity. Using a molecular dynamics simulated annealing method, we studied the structure and its variation with annealing temperature of the HAP (100) surface. In contrast to the commonly used HAP surface model, which is sliced from HAP crystal and then relaxed at 0 K with first-principles or force-field calculations, a new surface structure with gradual changes from ordered inside to disordered on the surface was revealed. The disordering is dependent on the annealing temperature, Tmax. When Tmax increases up to the melting point, which was usually adopted in experiments, the disordering increases, as reflected by its radial distribution functions, structural factors, and atomic coordination numbers. The disordering of annealed structures does not show significant changes when Tmax is above the melting point. The thickness of disordered layers is about 10 Å. The surface energy of the annealed structures at high temperature is significantly less than that of the crystal structure relaxed at room temperature. A three-layer model of interior, middle, and surface was then proposed to describe the surface structure of HAP. The interior layer retains the atomic configurations in crystal. The middle layer has its atoms moved and its groups rotated about their original locations. In the surface layer, the atomic arrangements are totally different from those in crystal. In particular for the hydroxyl groups, they move outward and cover the Ca2+ ions, leaving holes occupied by the phosphate groups. Our study suggested a new model with disordered surface structures for studying the interaction of HAP-based biomaterials with other molecules.

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