Laser Drilling

Filter with laser drilled holes

Laser Drilling Filter

As medical technology advances, so does the demand for the smallest possible holes in medical devices such as catheters, balloons, filters, and diagnostic products like continuous glucose monitoring sensors, molecular diagnostics, PCR and next generation sequencing instruments. Laser drilling is the only viable way to produce these tight-tolerance holes, down to 1 micron in diameter.

Laser drilling is a method of micro-machining that relies on controlled ablation, i.e., removal of material exposed to high-intensity laser energy. Usually, this process is applied to holes or openings with diameters between 1 micron and 1 millimeter (human hair ranges from 17 to 181 microns). For example, drug eluting balloons (DEB) have holes that are less than 10 microns. 

Micro Hole Laser Drilling Capabilities

Resonetics offers the most comprehensive micro hole drilling services in the industry. We can drill tight tolerance, sub 50 micron holes in 3-D polymer components with extremely tight precision and control.  We offer lasers from UV to IR using mask projection techniques (such as excimer and TEA-CO2 laser) for multi-hole array drilling and direct-write, high-speed Galvanometer (Galvo)-based systems (such as diode-pumped solid-state, femtosecond, picosecond, fiber and RF-excited CO2 lasers).

Our facility is equipped with more than 50 laser micromachining systems, allowing us to offer a variety of part handling capabilities for catheters, polymer sheets and 3-D balloons and filters.

Catheter showing laser drilling with 50-micron holes

Laser drilling in a catheter

In addition to being equipped with the most advanced laser systems, we're well known for our laser micromachining expertise, thanks to an experienced workforce that includes physicists, optical designers and Six Sigma Black Belts.  

Applications of Laser Drilling for Life Sciences

Resonetics applies the latest laser drilling techniques to keep pace with the life sciences industry, with its continuously shrinking geometries and sophisticated requirements.

See the table below for some of the products we've drilled, and a few details about our specific capabilities in laser drilling:

CATHETERS BALLOONS AND FILTERS DIAGNOSTIC SENSORS
Accommodate any number of lumens Drill precise holes on balloon body and neck Create precision microfluidic flow orifices for cell counting and flow cytometry
Target specific lumens for drilling of holes Drill holes as small as 5 microns Handle high density arrays of micron-size holes with constant diameter and pitch, drilled at rates of thousands of holes per second in thin polymer films
Compensate for wall thickness variation in extrusions Compensate for conical shapes by using patented 9 axis technology Drill blind holes down to 1 micron to create miniature bioreactors
Compensate for lumen “twist” due to material properties or extrusion artifacts Handle wall thickness and shape compensation with balloon mapping  
Drill any length of catheter with treatment length as long as 30 inches    
Drill hole sizes less than 5 microns in diameter    

Materials

1. 58 µm hole in PET

Excimer Hole

Our work includes precision laser drilling of many materials, including:

  • Nylon
  • Teflon
  • PEEK
  • PMMA
  • Polyurethane
  • Bioresorbables
  • Polyimide
  • Polycarbonate
  • Pellathane
  • Polystyrene
  • PET
  • Glass
  • Ceramics
  • Thin metals

To learn more about laser micro-hole drilling, see our article in Industrial Laser Solutions for Manufacturing Micro-hole Drilling with Lasers.