The C2N, Microcapteurs pour le Biomédical team1 and MISTIC2 (MIcro Structuration of Titanium for Innovative Components) have created a joint laboratory (LabCom) called FESTIN (Filière Emergente de Systèmes en Titane pour Implants Novateurs) with the support of the French National Research Agency (ANR) to develop innovative titanium-based packaging, thus paving the way for new generations of implantable medical devices (IMDs)
This project is part of the development of a breakthrough technology for the AIMD market. It aims to develop and perpetuate the emerging world leadership in the Ile de France region in the innovative and ambitious field of solid titanium-based microsystems (MEMS). This technological field was born from unresolved and limiting constraints in the design and development of active implantable medical devices (pacemakers, neurostimulators, implantable pumps or cochlear and retinal implants) with a biocompatible and waterproof but non-functional titanium shell. This joint laboratory is therefore intended to manufacture titanium-based MEMS, transferred onto this shell, thus providing intelligence and eliminating various layers of connectivity and packaging. This opens the way to new generations of less invasive implants.
To this end, the partners will work on the transposition of MEMS technologies on silicon substrates to titanium substrates in order to elaborate and develop a complete technological toolbox comparable to the state of the art in silicon MEMS. In order to bring to full maturity, in a projection of 1 to 4 years, concepts already studied by the two partners (monolithic implantable feedthroughs, implantable pressure sensor), the two partners will put in place means of testing (specific fatigue benches, accelerated study of the ageing of the structures), characterisation (morphology and surface analysis), in particular in terms of reliability and very long term biocompatibility
These devices will address 3 major issues on which C2N and MISTIC members have been collaborating since 2016 :
- An intensification of embedded Intelligence (telecommunication and remote monitoring, increased multiplicity of implanted physiological sensors and interaction / inter-functionalization)
- Responding to the need for a very high miniaturisation of AIMDs to reduce discomfort and risks for patients, address new therapies, and promote gender equality in care
- Manufacturability and cost pressure, especially for access to regions such as Asia or Africa that do not benefit from adequate reimbursement systems
A new scientific and technological approach is being developed to functionalise the purely passive titanium packaging of AIMDs in order to integrate external components and other sensors in the future.
As typical thicknesses are in the order of 0.2 to 0.4 mm and dimensional constraints are strong, this intelligent titanium packaging approach is based on a new technological vision: transposing silicon MEMS microfabrication technologies onto solid titanium, which constitutes the new starting substrate (wafer), and thus producing miniaturised electromechanical components based on titanium This titanium MEMS technology is not yet available or industrialised elsewhere.
The Joint Laboratory will benefit from access to our Central Technology Facility, a decisive asset for the development of the new target sector.
1Elie Lefeuvre, Fabien Parrain
2Bertrand Boutaud, Gwenaël Becan