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Laser technology can lead the field of medical device manufacturing
Published:2010-10-20 9:59:51  Read:2742

Medical devices for applications in a variety of free particles, precision laser equipment

Since the laser has been developed 50 years ago, laser technology has been a mainstay of scientific and industrial fields. Laser technology was initially seen as a brighter light source to form the strengthening of military equipment and to improve communication tool, and then gradually introducing modern manufacturing - including the manufacture of medical devices - because it provides an accurate and clean cutting, machining and welding methods.

High-energy laser beam by controlling the output of basal melting, ablation, or evaporation of material to form a high quality surface treatment effects. Although the laser in medical device manufacturing industry in the application process less than more traditional technology, but it has many practical advantages: they can form more than the perforated edge of the treatment effect cleaning; without the use of expensive tools can be made into a complex set of pieces; faster than other processing methods and can handle the speed of various materials. Therefore, in the medical device manufacturing, laser technology is likely to lead another 50 years - or even longer.

Laser Welding

Leister Technologies LLC (Illinois) is a professional production of high power diode laser systems company that developed the device can occur to form the laser dot, line, and a variety of custom shapes laser. The company's laser systems with no contact, no vibration and no stress characteristics, can be used to weld plastic materials, to achieve localization in energy applications. The company also offers a variety of laser transfer method, in order to meet the needs of plastic welding applications, including contour, simultaneous, mask and radial technology.

General Manager Jerry Zybko Leister commented: "In the plastic bonding applications, we use diode laser based system, because it is solid, there is no need to use any attachments. In other words, without using Nd: YAG laser technology in the required CO2 laser tube or a lamp. "diode lasers can provide 808 - or 940-nm wavelength, in order to meet the different wavelengths of the polymer response to the application requirements. For these reasons, the company will integrate its transmission diode laser infrared laser welding of plastic platform.

"Our system includes two layers of plastic processing: a transparent layer and an absorption layer. The laser through the transparent layer by following the absorption layer to absorb, you can absorb the interface in the laser heat." Zybko said.

Leister's Novolas mask laser equipment using patented technology, can be used for the manufacture of microfluidic devices, laser welding of microfluidic channel itself, in addition to all the surface of the substrate. Chrome-plated glass mask used, the specific parts of the chromium removed through the laser to determine the ideal welding area. Microfluidic channel with flat-topped plastic components and assemblies in the mask below the bottom, and subjected to clamping forces. Light through the layered structure of the mask to prevent light reaches microfluidic channels. "Therefore, the laser can be used to seal the assembly, leaving the microfluidic channels. The technology for microfluidic plastic sheet structure, can form a variety of welding shape, and does not produce vibration or particulate pollution can accumulate to achieve the desired bonding." Zybko said.

According to Zybko said laser welding except in the field of microfluidics has played a prominent role, but also the bonding operation of the catheter tube made progress. Leister's Novolas WC-C laser machine welding using a technology called Radial complete the process. In this technique, such as valves and the like into the round polished metal parts inside the plastic tube, inner diameter of the metal cone. When the laser reaches the equipment issued plastic parts, the contours of the surrounding pipe welding can be realized simultaneously. "Rotate or move the laser does not occur, and cylindrical ring emission, and the help of diffractive optical elements to achieve a small angle. When it hit a polished cone, it can be directly reflected to the vertical joint of catheters and catheter position." Zybko explained.

In the field of laser technology applications become more and more economic, but the laser-based products are generally still need to use precision xy motion control equipment. In addition, when using the above equipment, the operator must take measures to shield the laser, which increases operating costs.

Zybko added, however, compared with other technologies, laser processing still has many advantages. For example, it does not produce particles, pollution or flash, and welding can be completed within the components, the excess material to prevent splashing. Conversely, when carried out using 30 KHz ultrasonic welding parts, the vibrations will cause a certain degree of decomposition of the polymer and the formation of particles, these particles must be sucked out by vacuum or wash out - especially for microfluidic devices. "With the laser, we can use glass, plastic grip. We will not move, rotate, move up and down vibration or ultrasonic material. This part is very clean, processed, and will not have an impact on the volume. If you need 100-pl space, you can assemble the parts and welding is completed to achieve. "Zybko said.

Laser micromachining

"Laser Micromachining for the polymer and the use of other technologies for micro-machining operations is difficult to clean material cutting, drilling and forming," JPSA Sales Manager Bill Kallgren said. The company's technology utilizes ultraviolet light removal process - laser emitted the role of UV-induced volatile - the formation of plasma plume, and the quantitative removal of very fine material. According to Kallgren said its results can have access to clean holes, channels or parts.

In addition to the company diode-pumped solid-state laser, laser micro-processing equipment and UV and VUV laser beam delivery system, also provides a variety of laser systems, including IX-3000 ChromAblate, this is a process to achieve the ultraviolet quasi-micron molecular laser systems, the tolerance Daya micron. Typical applications include stents, catheters, microfluidic devices, lab on a chip biosensors, nozzles and micro-motor system. Kallgren said, JPSA the machine can handle a variety of materials, including polymers, ceramics, glass, metal and other materials.

As laser technology can shape the contours of the wall smooth, transparent and bright surface, and other complex features, so it helps a lot of complicated medical equipment production. Kallgren commented: "design, such as microfluidic manufacturing of medical devices often require processing of complex holes, cones, channel or sample room. These characteristics may be tiny, but need to achieve unity and stability of size. UV excimer laser equipment can be processed into complex geometric shapes and can be repeated. "

Although the goal is to form a complex geometry, but different applications require different custom devices. "Our standard system is the advanced engineering equipment, but they use a modular design, so I can according to the requirements of the equipment change," Kallgren explained. For example, the system may be used for simple processing with XY-θ platform, if it needs focus, it may be with the z-θ platform. On the other hand, customers may need to roll aligned with platform and visual equipment for automated mass production.

In excimer laser systems, may require additional motion axes to perform automatic mask change the function to select a different image and its projection on the target. Coordination of the relative motion so the system can scan the beam within the mask, in some specific cases, can scan the following components. "Simply put, the system can only be four-axis movement, 16-axis motion can also be, depending on the customer approach," Kallgren said.

Kallgren said, looking ahead, the wavelength and the thermal control is in need of special attention. "Customers are no longer cutting metal stent, they are more focused on new materials, such as bio-absorbable material. The problem is that many of these materials sensitive to heat." For example, commonly used YAG, CO2 laser for bracket or continuous cutting, These technologies form a heat-affected zone, will support the new material damage. However, according to Kallgren said despite the common UV lasers with high photon energy and band gap, but still not ideal.

Kallgren said: "We look forward to enhancing the quality of the pulse width as an alternative adjustment method. Pulse width is shorter, the light and shorter contact materials, manufacturing process cold." Based on this goal, the company explore the picosecond or femtosecond pulsed laser wavelength range of diode pumped solid-state or excimer laser applications. Kallgren said, adding that these technologies can achieve the goal of multi-photon absorption of the substrate and the heat generated by small, so is a clean, high resolution, high-fidelity micro-machining methods.


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