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PVD and ALD Technologies for Medical Device Coatings

POSITIVE COATING develops physical vapour deposition (PVD) and atomic layer deposition (ALD) technologies for medical device coatings.

Rue des Champs 12,
2300 La Chaux-de-Fonds,
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POSITIVE COATING develops physical vapour deposition (PVD) and atomic layer deposition (ALD) technologies for medical device coatings.

Based in the Swiss Health Valley, POSITIVE COATING works on projects related to implantable devices: Cardiovascular devices, surgical and dental instruments, and biomedical applications.

Its strength is to offer customised solutions according to the needs of the customer. Positioned at the heart of a prestigious microtechnology industry, the company contributes to the development of technological products of excellence.

The company employs 30 highly qualified members of staff at its production site, which features cutting-edge technology.

Highly focused on providing a professional service, POSITIVE COATING places quality, reactivity and flexibility at the heart of its activities.

Its reputation as a reliable and dynamic key partner is recognised by the companies who place high standards and technicality at the heart of their product.

PVD technology for medical device coatings

PVD technology brings together a family of vacuum deposition processes, the following standing out in particular: evaporation, sputtering and cathodic arc. The choice of deposition process depends on the mechanical and optical properties of the parts requiring treatment.

The PVD technology used by POSITIVE COATING is sputtering. This technique is particularly well-suited for treating high added value parts and grants perfect control of the deposited films regarding thickness, adhesion, hardness and durability.

It allows objects of various materials to be coated in a thin layer approximately one to two microns thick, as well as increases the wear resistance of treated parts. Ultrathin layers with anticorrosive properties meet the demands of the medical technology (medtech) industry.

ALD technology for medical device coatings

ALD metal oxide coatings are performed on a nanometric scale by growing successive atomic layers, which lead to high-quality ultra-thin films. The structure of the final coating is pinhole-free, conformal, uniform and therefore hermetic and biocompatible.

ALD coatings can be applied to medical devices with a wide range of materials such as stainless steel, nitinol, cobalt-chromium alloys, titanium alloys, ceramic, plastic and many more.

Encapsulation and colourisation are the most well-known properties of ALD coatings. However, many other characteristics such as cell adhesion and proliferation improvement, and tissue sticking reduction still need to be explored.

Encapsulation using ALD

Ultrathin films produced by ALD technology are perfectly suited for the encapsulation of highly corrosive materials and miniaturised electronics that require a reliable method of protection. This ensures implanted devices receive protection from corrosion caused by bodily fluids, and patients are safe from allergic reactions and rejections caused by foreign objects in the body.

The hermetic seal also protects the patient from possible metal ion release by the implant into the body. ALD coatings can also be used in combination with Parylene coatings to create multilayers. This combination significantly reduces the water vapour (WVTR) and oxygen (OTR) transmission rates of standard Parylene coatings.

Colourisation using PVD or ALD

Colourisation by anodising is widely used in the medical field but is limited to titanium and aluminium components. Black and grey PVD coatings can be applied to any metallic or ceramic parts, which is useful to reduce the reflectivity of surgical instruments when exposed to direct bright light.

Furthermore, ALD technology is highly innovative as it can provide a full range of colours to any material such as stainless steel, nitinol, and cobalt-chromium alloys.

Colourisation of medical instruments and devices enables concise and reliable identification to avoid mistakes made during operations, having the significant advantage of reducing stress for clinicians and improving safety for patients.

From a commercial point of view, in the company’s fast-paced environment, colourisation using ALD coatings is a powerful marketing tool to distinguish products from competitors in the same field or to target specific markets.

Conduction using PVD

Non-conductive materials (glass, ceramics, polymers, composites) and unsuitable materials for galvanic plating (titanium, aluminium) can be coated using PVD with various metals such as gold, platinum and copper to enable conduction.

Based on POSITIVE COATING’s specific knowledge, these coatings can also be applied selectively to create ultra-precise conductive paths or patterns.

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Rue des Champs 12
2300 La Chaux-de-Fonds