Sinan Filiz — 2006-07 Fellow
The demand for miniature medical and bio-medical devices, including implantable devices and minimally-invasive surgery equipment, is rapidly growing. When implantable devices are smaller, they are less invasive and induce lower health risks. The growth in demand, however, is accompanied by increased manufacturing challenges. Current micro-manufacturing techniques are limited in material selectivity (i.e., biocompatibility) and geometric complexity that are essential for functional miniature medical devices. Therefore, new manufacturing paradigms are direly needed to respond to this demand.
Mechanical manufacturing techniques, such as micromilling and microturning, can be utilized to effectively fabricate implantable devices with complex 3D geometry from biocompatible materials. Mechanical micro-manufacturing processes are scaled-down versions of conventional machining processes. Micro-milling, for instance, utilizes tools as small as 25µm to produce 3D shapes from metals, polymers, and composites. Therefore, mechanical micro-manufacturing is one of the most promising techniques for efficient and economical fabrication of miniature implantable devices. However, since the mechanical micro-manufacturing processes are relatively new, there is a lack of experience and knowledge regarding their application to biocompatible materials. The objectives of this research are to evaluate the feasibility of micro-manufacturing in fabricating implantable devices from biocompatible materials, examine the shape, geometry, quality and throughput capability of micro-manufacturing on biocompatible materials, and investigate the relationship between operating (manufacturing) parameters and quality/productivity metrics.