Innovative materials for safe medical devices by linking materials and life sciences
In the field of medical technology, Fraunhofer IFAM focuses in particular on manufacturers of medical products. These can be final products, such as implants, instruments, or wound pads, or starting materials that are improved by innovative functionalization. The life sciences complement the portfolio for this industry with structures and processes involving living organisms, making possible, among other things, biodegradable materials, biologized products, and biosurface engineering.
The interdisciplinary research scientists of the Medical Technology and Life Sciences Business Unit combine the specific core competencies of Fraunhofer IFAM. The extensive portfolio of materials, technologies, and manufacturing processes enables research services along the entire value chain for single-use products as well as reusable medical devices.
With its competencies, Fraunhofer IFAM has a broad spectrum of knowledge and expertise at its disposal:
- Extensive experience in bonding medical devices, ranging from micro-bonding of the smallest components to encapsulation of life-relevant electronics (potting).
- Incorporation of circular economy and sustainability for medical devices, especially with bonded joints
- Expertise in materials, surfaces, coatings, structuring and their effects on cells and viruses
- Antimicrobial, antibiotic and antiviral functionalizations
- Project-related, normative testing of materials and surfaces for in vitro cytotoxicity
- Degradable biomaterials for resilient implant systems
- Developments of adhesive systems for application in the body
- Additive technologies for patient-specific implants
- State-of-the-art and comprehensive equipment for analytical problems (SEM, TEM, FIB, ToF-SIMS, GC-MS, MALDI-ToF MS, NMR, etc.).
In addition, Fraunhofer IFAM has safety level 2 laboratories for testing the antibacterial effectiveness of surfaces against multiresistant germs and also their antiviral effect using real-time PCR tests.
Trending topics in medical technology
Medical implants are increasingly changing from passive, bioinert components to bioactive components that interact specifically with the body's cells. This trend, in combination with patient-specific medical devices, enables the best possible patient benefit and optimal healing results. Making these potentials accessible requires smart materials with adapted surfaces and optimized manufacturing processes. In this way, the product can be optimized in terms of performance or effect and equally meet the high quality requirements.