Silicone coating for medical devices

Organic silicones are playing an increasingly important role in the surface modification of next generation medical devices. The technique known as plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD) of silicon dioxide coatings are seen widely as an enabling material technology for future products.

The technique is used to form an anti-microbial barrier, a primer to promote adhesion between stainless steel and proprietary coatings, and to create hydrophobic or hydrophilic surfaces. As a result, the medical device industry is aggressively investigating and applying plasma-applied coatings to products such as stainless steel guide wires, catheters, stents, and vascular surgical tools.

Plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition is a process used to deposit thin films from a gas state (vapours) to a solid state on a substrate. To deposit silicon dioxide using PECVD, organic silicones are often required as the feedstock, the best known are hexamethyldisiloxane (HMDSO) and tetramethyldisiloxane (TMDSO).

Aaron Baldwin, R&D project leader at MicroVention, said: “PECVD can take a product to the next level by addressing surface reaction issues such as biocompatibility or lubricity. It is a unique and eloquent way to deposit an enhance coatings because it allows you to tailor the surface while retaining the bulk material’s properties you need.”

Justin Cunningham

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