The materials used to manufacture of medical devices are often hydrophobic, non-slippery, tacky, and non-biocompatible and as a result are often coated to meet the devices’ performance requirements. Conventional coating technology utilizes dipping or spraying processes for applying materials that meet the device specifications.
The challenges with conventional coating technology include post process material stiffness, poor coating adhesion, physical integrity of the coating, and the excessive coating thickness. Coating processes involving plasma are used to apply various biocompatible coatings that help create lubricious/low-friction, chemical/moisture barrier, bondable, wear resistant, hydrophilic, hydrophobic, protein resistant, static resistant or insulative surfaces. Plasma assisted deposited films can be applied by two methods: Polymerization and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).
The polymerization process involves the plasma initiated reaction of monomer molecules to form a linear chain or three-dimensional polymer network. In the chemical vapor deposition process volatile precursors are decomposed in the plasma process and react to form a desired byproduct on the sample surface. In both processes the resultant films are nanometer thin, chemical unique strongly adhered conformal coatings capable of being deposited to a wide variety of surfaces. This developing technology offers designers unprecedented capability to tailor surfaces for specific functionality.
Examples include tie-layers for strong metal to plastic bonds, coatings for contact or intraocular lenses and filter media to improve wettability or alter gas and liquid permeation rates, sealing or capping layers, and layers that can be functionalized for specific molecular attachment. Surfaces can also be aminated which results in a surface that is more amenable to post processing.