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Nanolaminate Coating Extends Viability of Microimplants

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 01 Jan 2019
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Image: SEM images of conformal ALD coating on the edges and corners of silicone (Photo courtesy of Picosun).
Image: SEM images of conformal ALD coating on the edges and corners of silicone (Photo courtesy of Picosun).
A novel atomic layer deposition (ALD) thin film coating can encapsulate minuscule electronic implants, extending their lifetime in the human body.

The Picosun (Espoo, Finland) PicoMEDICAL nanolaminate encapsulant is intended to provide reliable, hermetic sealing of implantable medical devices, ranging from micro-scale neural stimulators, diagnostic sensors, blood glucose sensors, intraocular, intracranial, and blood pressure monitors, and even artificial eyesight. The coating can also be applied to larger items, such as hip, knee, and dental implants. The thin film ALD coating is intrinsically biocompatible and remains inert inside the human body, uniformly covering even complex three-dimensional (3D) structures with nanoscale details.

Such minuscule devices are typically implanted for extended periods of time--from several months to well over ten years--making protection of their sensitive electronics against the corrosive environment inside the human body crucial. The opposite is also true; the body has to be protected against possible inflammatory reactions or immune rejection caused by the implant. Traditional encapsulation materials, such as titanium metal, ceramics, and polymers such as polyimide are suitable for larger implants such as pacemakers and orthopedic implants, but when size diminishes, novel encapsulation methods and materials are called for.

“There is an increasing number of customers in the healthcare industries that are now looking at ALD to solve some critical issues in their products. We at Picosun have developed a whole family of production-proven, turn-key PicoMEDICAL solutions specifically to answer this need,” said Jani Kivioja, PhD, CTO of Picosun Group. “The excellent results of our ALD encapsulation for biomedical microimplants prove that our technological knowhow and decades of experience in the field are now paving the way for a whole new generation of ALD-enabled healthcare solutions.”

ALD is a thin-film deposition technique based on sequential use of gas phase chemical vapor deposition. The majority of ALD reactions use two chemicals precursors that react with the surface of a material one at a time in a sequential, self-limiting, manner. Through the repeated exposure to separate precursors, a thin film is slowly deposited. ALD is a key process in the fabrication of semiconductor devices, and can also be applied at relatively low temperatures, which advocates their use on sensitive materials such as plastics and polymers.

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