How Laser Micromachining Is Used in the Medical Field

Laser micromachining is an important part of the medical field’s research and development. Laser micromachining is the process of using lasers to manufacture intricate details in products, and the intricate work is usually measured in millimeters or micrometers. Essentially, manufacturers are able to use laser micromachining to better shape medical devices by “welding, cutting, and marking” their products. Using lasers improves the accuracy of the intricate details and allows for key improvements to be made to the manufacturing process without sacrificing the quality of the parts. From stents to pull rings to microfluidic devices, laser micromachining is responsible for the production of many medical devices which so many professionals in the medical field rely on to save their patients’ lives.

Without laser micromachining, many advancements in the medical field wouldn’t be possible, and laser micromachining is already the reason why many medical advancements happened. Researchers in the medical field have been able to use laser micromachining to help manufacture and improve many medical devices. In particular, stents used in cardiovascular surgeries have seen a tremendous amount of advancement in design and accuracy in function. Because the arteries in your heart are so delicate and complex, the stent needs to be as intricate and accurate as possible. Cardiovascular stents are only one example of numerous medical devices that would not be possible without the use of laser micromachining during their production. The use of lasers allows for more intricate designs that enable researchers to develop better functioning medical devices.

Key Medical Devices Produced Using Laser Micromachining:

  • Balloons
  • Bioresorbable Scaffolds
  • Medicine Delivery Products
  • Microfluidic Devices
  • Micro Implants
  • Micro Instruments
  • Single and Multi-lumen Catheter Tip
  • Stents

Laser Micromachining Techniques:

Laser Cutting

Laser cutting involves using a laser to remove material through a coaxial gas nozzle from the manufactured part. This is essential to medical devices because it allows the manufacturing of tiny details without burrs and with clean edges. In the medical field, laser cutting is primarily used to manufacture medical devices including thin-walled stents, pull rings, and bioresorbable scaffolds. All of these medical devices are crucial for medical treatment, and without using laser cutting, the products’ development and quality would not be as advanced.

Selective Laser Etching

Selecteive laser etching is essential to the manufacturing of medical devices using laser micromachining. Selective laser etching uses femtosecond lasers to reveal transparent aspects of the product (ex. glass), and it is primarily used in the production of microfluidic devices. Microfluidic devices are used to test bodily functions, and using selective laser etching to produce these devices allows for better alignment of the product.

Wire Stripping

Wire stripping is a technique used in laser micromachining that gets rid of the outer layer to reveal the underlayer of the “core” wire. Parts of the wire are thicker than other areas which makes the removal of the outer layer tricky, but using laser micromachining allows the manufacturer to remove all areas of the outer layer evenly no matter where it is on the wire. Wire stripping using laser micromachining is crucial to the production of medical devices because it ensures that the wire will not be too thick or thin and will instead be exactly what the manufacturer is looking for.

The techniques and equipment that laser micromachining has provided to the medical field have led to knowledge and advancements that are simply indispensable to the medical field. In particular, medical leaders have been able to use laser micromachining to assist in the advancement of products for surgery, cardiovascular, orthopedics, medicine delivery, and lab testing. Without laser micromachining, the manufacturing of many medical devices would not be possible or have as accurate results. To many, laser micromachining might not seem that important, but when you think about how many lives have been saved because of parts manufactured by lasers, we all owe many thanks to laser micromachining and those who work hard to continually make advancements in the industry.

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