Drug delivery platform
As drug delivery devices have become smaller and more sophisticated, laser micromachining, particularly laser drilling, is essential. In particular, pharmaceutical drug delivery relies on the fabrication of an array of micron-size, repeatable holes with programmable taper and hole profile in polymer films.
Pulmonary oral drug delivery devices or transdermal patches can benefit from arrays of micro-holes because the laser-drilled polymer films can be more cost effective than using holed inserts or EDM-drilled metal foils. Laser-drilled membranes are superior to woven fabric, Nitinol meshes or high-voltage etched membranes for several reasons:
- The hole diameter is more consistent
- The pitch is more consistent (and hence uniform hole density)
- Plastic material may be preferred over metal due to larger aspect ratio, reduced tooling costs or biocompability (i.e., metallic ions)
- The unit cost is typically lower