Cardiac plug used to treat atrial fibrillation
The cardiac rhythm management, neuromodulation and otolaryngology markets all use electronic implants to treat debilitating, yet common diagnoses.
- Cardiac arrhythmias are the result of abnormal electrical activity in the heart. Implantable pacemakers and converter defibrillators are life-saving devices to monitor and correct abnormal heartbeats.
- The neurostimulation market involves implantable spinal cord stimulators (SCS) for the treatment of chronic pain and deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson's disease. Emerging applications include the treatment for epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, blindness, chronic migraines and depression.
- Cochlear implants use electrostimulation to provide a sense of sound to patients who are profoundly deaf or have a severe hearing loss.
Laser Micromachining for Implant Fabrication
Laser ablation is used to fabricate critical components of these implants. For example, the polymer coatings of individual wires, bi-filars or catheters are laser stripped to expose underlying conductors. The threshold to ablate polymers is an order of magnitude less than the threshold to ablate metals, making laser stripping the ideal selective process. Lasers can remove 100 percent of the targeted polymer coating without causing any damage to adjacent materials.
Laser micromachined neuro coil
To ensure a clean underlying conductive surface, the laser beam can overdose the metal surface without any concern of conductor damage. Other methods such as mechanical, chemical or thermal stripping, may leave residue of material on the conductor. If the next manufacturing step involves soldering or welding, this may make the joining process unreliable.
For these applications, electrode arrays are typically fabricated from multi-lumen polymer catheters with a series of skives to allow placement of metal electrodes. UV laser cutting technology is well suited for precisely cutting these skives without damaging the inner lumen walls.