How Thin Film Vacuum Coatings are Used in Medical Technology

How Thin Film Vacuum Coatings are Used in Medical Technology

PVD systems are used to apply thin coatings to medical devices, creating equipment that is less-abrasive and easier for patients to handle.

Written by: Denton Vacuum, LLC

You don’t have to go back one hundred years to see that medical technology has come a long way. We can now perform heart surgery through veins in the leg, and we are increasingly looking for more non-invasive methods to help patients with serious ailments. Using a process called thin film vacuum coating, doctors are able to do far more inside the body without surgery than ever before.

Vacuum Coating Explained

A PVD System heats special chemicals to prepare them for application on the substrate, which is the object that will receive the coating. The substrate is placed, along with the chemical, inside of a vacuum sealed chamber. Then, heat is applied to the chemical until it breaks down into particulate matter. Air circulates the particulate matter around the chamber until the chemicals coat the substrate.

The end result is a thin coating on a substance. This is extremely important to medical professionals, who need very specific tools to care for patients.


PVD Thermal Evaporation creates a thin film around the substrate that is almost microscopic. When someone needs a catheter, or some other form of implantable device, the chemical coating creates a non-stick coating. This makes the device easy to slide in and out of a patient without causing extreme discomfort. We also see this in use in imaging machines, especially related to the hardware. Chemicals can make hardware more conductive, allowing for more power and efficiency from the machines used to x-ray patients or give them full-body scans.

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