All You Need To Know About The Medical Device Laser Ablation

Laser ablation is becoming more popular for medical device applications that require the removal of coatings on cylindrical components such as guidewires and hypotubes. Laser ablation is used extensively for advanced surface treatments such as discoloration, foaming, and darkening/annealing metal parts. 

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Laser ablation can be used to remove specific wire layers and areas in a non-contact manner. This fully automated method also yields a higher yield than other methods.

Applications for laser processing

Laser ablation has many key uses

  • Laser energy can be used to melt, evaporate or oxidize the layer. You can also use the laser to cut the layer. This allows for easy removal, whether by hand or using an automated process. The requirements for wire stripping are increasing.  Both the end-span and middle-span pieces need to be removed. For example, wires with smaller diameters are used to transmit electric signals for brain stimulation applications.
  • Optional surface roughening: This can be used to increase adhesive adhesion, or increase friction for easier handling.

  • Marker band Annealing – This laser can be used for annealing stainless steel. The annealing darkens a metal to create a contrast with the transparent surface of (hypo-), tubes. This can be used to create marking bands that a surgeon can use to guide and place catheters during surgical procedures.

Laser ablation removes material by directing focused beams (minimal size 25 microns in dia.). Galvanometers are small, fully-programmable X/Y mirrors that can generate larger sizes. This allows for highly customized removal. 

You can remove individual sections or wholes of wire insulation as you need. Pre-programmed recipes allow you to make changes in real-time, such as the size or location of the sections that need to be removed.