Electrochemical Performance of Biocompatible TiC Films Deposited through Nonreactive RF Magnetron Sputtering for Neural Interfacing

Roaa Sait*, Hala Al-Jawhari, Aisha Ganash, Shofarul Wustoni, Long Chen, Mohamed Nejib Hedhili, Nimer Wehbe, Deema Hussein, Alazouf Alhowity, Saleh Baeesa, Mohammed Bangash, Adel Abuzenadah, Sahika Inal, Richard Cross

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The efficacy of neural electrode stimulation and recording hinges significantly on the choice of a neural electrode interface material. Transition metal carbides (TMCs), particularly titanium carbide (TiC), have demonstrated exceptional chemical stability and high electrical conductivity. Yet, the fabrication of TiC thin films and their potential application as neural electrode interfaces remains relatively unexplored. Herein, we present a systematic examination of TiC thin films synthesized through nonreactive radio frequency (RF) magnetron sputtering. TiC films were optimized toward high areal capacitance, low impedance, and stable electrochemical cyclability. We varied the RF power and deposition pressure to pinpoint the optimal properties, focusing on the deposition rate, surface roughness, crystallinity, and elemental composition to achieve high areal capacitance and low impedance. The best-performing TiC film showed an areal capacitance of 475 μF/cm2 with a capacitance retention of 93% after 5000 cycles. In addition, the electrochemical performance of the optimum film under varying scanning rates demonstrated a stable electrochemical performance even under dynamic and fast-changing stimulation conditions. Furthermore, the in vitro cell culture for 3 weeks revealed excellent biocompatibility, promoting cell growth compared with a control substrate. This work presents a novel contribution, highlighting the potential of sputtered TiC thin films as robust neural electrode interface materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-404
Number of pages14
JournalACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 8 2024


  • bioelectronics
  • neural electrodes
  • neural interfaces
  • RF magneton sputtering
  • thin films
  • titanium carbide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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