<< View SCS Blog

Parylene Protects Life-Enhancing Medical MEMS Technologies

February 28, 2023

Cutting-edge medical technologies provide a greater understanding of physiology through miniaturization and advanced diagnostics. Many of these technologies include the use of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) in fields like microfluidics, advanced bio-sensing and personalized medicine. 

Protecting sensitive MEMS devices from a variety of harsh conditions is essential for these technologies to be successful. Parylene and ALD+Parylene multilayer coatings meet that challenge by virtue of their unique features. These conformal coatings offer a range of key properties beginning with biocompatibility, a necessity for today’s most advanced technologies. Recognized for their outstanding barrier properties, Parylenes offer uniform protection of the sensitive electronics used in medical applications. Among their greatest attributes for MEMS technology is their ability to add negligible weight and thickness to the lightweight, compact medical devices they enable; some examples of these include capsule endoscopy and critical portable medical platforms.

Capsule endoscopy

Capsule endoscopy provides an alternative to colonoscopies and EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopies). With the use of a pill-sized camera featuring MEMS, this technology allows for imaging of the gastrointestinal tract without the need for invasive procedures. Other MEMS-based ‘smart pills’ can assist in targeted drug delivery. Smart pills must handle the harsh conditions found inside the human body, including corrosive digestive acids that can easily destroy microelectronics. The coatings need to be visually clear and safe for human consumption while causing no adverse effects to the patient’s biology. With these needs in mind, device manufacturers routinely use highly-advanced protective coatings to ensure that MEMS components do not become damaged.

Portable medical platforms

Portable medical platforms are used by a variety of groups, including home-bound patients, first responders, military medics and remote area clinicians, including those in developing parts of the world. To facilitate portability, MEMS technology has been leveraged in new generations of diagnostics and monitoring devices like hand-held ultrasound systems, electrocardiograms (ECGs), blood pressure devices and even pathogen sensors that test both water and air for viral agents. With advancements in MEMS technologies, developers can pack increasing levels of technology and performance into smaller-sized packages. As a result, portable medical platforms now contain advanced sensor systems, integrated systems-on-a-chip and high-definition displays at a scale that mimics most smartphones and tablets.  

As medical technologies continue to shrink in size, becoming more complex and increasingly mobile, the level of protection offered by Parylene and ALD+Parylene multilayer coatings will ensure that medical providers and patients can rely on accurate information when it is needed most.

For more information on protecting medical MEMS technologies with Parylene or ALD+Parylene multilayer coatings, contact SCS Medical Market Segment Manager Dick Molin at 317.244.1200, ext. 0271, or dmolin@scscoatings.com.

Global Coverage Issue 94, Winter 2023