Integer’s improved feedthrough for implantable devices
The company has designed a feedthrough that is much smaller than the traditional feedthrough and is hermetically sealed to protect the electronics and the patient, according to Keith Seitz, senior director of research and development for Frisco, Texas–based Integer.
The traditional feedthrough is formed of aluminum oxide with gold-brazed platinum wires. The new technology injects platinum into a green aluminum oxide ceramic body and is then co-fired at high temperatures to form a biocompatible hermetic feedthrough.
The proprietary forming method for the co-fired platinum/aluminum oxide technology enables the creation of smaller vias and less aluminum oxide ceramic between vias when compared to traditional feedthrough insulators that require core rods to be extracted from the green body during pressing of aluminum oxide-pressed ceramics.
Heraeus introduced a similar-concept feedthrough late last year, the CerMet. Integer says its technology is different in a couple of ways. For example, Integer claims its platinum conductor is of the same purity or higher when compared with the standard platinum in use for pin feedthroughs by other manufacturers. This is meant to ensure the same or better electrical performance and attachment by soldering, welding or wire bonding as the present feedthrough technology. Integer’s technology also demonstrates perfect alignment layer-to-layer, yielding very consistent conductor diameter control, the company added.
“We’ve gone from tens of channels to hundreds if not thousands of channels with this technology,” Seitz said.
The technology has potential uses in cochlear and retinal implants and for deep brain and spinal cord peripheral nerve stimulators, as well as for implantable cardiac defibrillators and pacemakers, Seitz said. It’s been under development for six years and is the subject of several patents.
“Now we’re moving forward with specific customer shape and product development,” he said. “This new feedthrough technology is extremely exciting and is being deployed in a wide variety of med device applications.”