Sponsored by Picosun
Versatile coating for medical technology and pharmaceutics
ALD (Atomic layer deposition) coating is virtually dimensionless enabling miniaturized devices and encasings
he perfect protective coating needs to be a biocompatible, pinhole-free barrier capable of uniformly encasing devices with widely varying sizes and shapes. In this article, Juhani Taskinen, Director, Global Medical Business Management at Picosun, explains what ALD is and how medical technology can benefit from it.
What is Picosun and can you tell us about the company?
Picosun, an Applied Materials company, is an innovator in ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) technology. ALD coatings are used in semiconductor manufacturing as well as in microelectronics, LEDs, sensors and medical applications, such as medical implants. In many applications, ALD is an indispensable technology.
Today, PICOSUN® ALD systems are in daily production use across the world, from the largest manufacturers to emerging companies and high-level research organizations, serving several industries.
What is ALD?
ALD is an advanced deposition technique belonging to the family of chemical vapor deposition (CVD) technologies. Since the mid-2000s, ALD has been a leading coating method in various electronics industries.
An ALD coating is deposited as a vapor on top of an object one atom layer at a time. ALD creates a pinhole-free coating on an object’s surface covering each atom of the object with a wanted material, leaving no atom of the coated device exposed to the surroundings. In addition, the coating is only tens to hundreds of nanometers thick, so it can enable miniaturized devices and encasings.
What makes ALD a versatile coating solution in the field of medical technology and pharmaceutics?
Extensive experience from the use of ALD in the semiconductor industry can be applied in medical and pharmaceutical fields as well. Thin and conformal nanosized coatings without defects offer several performance advantages in comparison to traditional coatings or surfaces without coatings. Selected application areas include encasings for electronic and orthopedic implants, pharmaceutical packaging, wearables and patient monitoring, and pharmaceutical dosage forms.
ALD can provide anti-corrosive protection to implantable electronics without compromising their function and usability. Biocompatibility and antimicrobial properties of implants and orthopedics can be tuned with versatile ALD materials. Picosun ALD coatings can be deposited onto various materials and have been proven to be biocompatible according to the standardized assays. ALD coatings on the surface of packaging materials such as glass vials or plastics can enhance compatibility and stability of drugs, and because the coatings add no dimensions, they can enable miniaturized implantable devices. ALD has also been successfully used in coating active pharmaceutical ingredients to modify their crucial processability and drug release properties.
What can we expect in the near future?
Medical technology and devices in contact with living organisms for monitoring, diagnostic, and therapeutic purposes is a rapidly growing area. To overcome the human-device interface challenges, sophisticated surface modification technologies such as ALD are becoming an integral part of well-functioning medical and pharmaceutical solutions – similar to the role of ALD in the field of semiconductors.