Medical Device Applications

Written by Emily Walsh

BTG Labs’ origins are in the research and development of adhesives and coatings, including the development of a corrosion resistant antimicrobial coating–often used in the medical device industry. The Surface Analyst is the ideal surface cleanliness gauge for the medical device industry in that it is completely non-destructive, precise, quantitative, and able to measure on various substrates including rough, convex, and concave surfaces. BTG Labs’ twenty plus years of expertise can assist in the optimization of medical device manufacturing processes to meet the highly-tailored specs of this industry to manufacture more reliable, fail resistant products.


  • Layers of silicone wafers prior to bonding
  • Sanding and solvent wiping on carbon fiber and titanium for prosthetics
  • And identify the presence of detrimental silicone in a bonding step
  • Flame treatment on medical devices including catheters
  • Plasma treatment on catheters prior to bonding luers
  • Surfaces preparations prior to solvent bonding


  • Microbial lubricious coating and uniformity on catheters
  • Surface cleanliness of stainless, aluminum, titanium, and polymer devices
  • Sterilization methods such as ultra-sonic baths and vacuum plasma chambers
  • Audit concerns with shelf-life and uniformity of antimicrobial coatings

Application Example

Ensuring a bond will hold is the most important component of adhesion. At times, a successful bond could change a life.

A revolutionary prosthetics company knew that their unique and innovative product was changing lives, so there was no tolerance for failures. As the need for prosthetics continues to grow, companies must build a product that is as strong as the human body. It must withstand stresses of weight baring, pivoting, uneven surfaces, etc., but also must be comfortable and lightweight. They produce a prosthetic that mimics the human form. The product must withstand the stresses of everyday life, to enhance the lives of amputees. Prosthetics are meant to catalyze, not hinder an individual’s physical ability. The expectations of this product are extremely high and there is no room for error or failures.

This manufacturer needed a way to verify the bonds of their dissimilar materials which included carbon fiber and titanium. Bonding was necessary as traditional fasteners would not be able to withstand the varying stresses of a prosthetic. In preparation to bond, the manufacturers sanded and solvent wiped the material. Verifying this surface treatment would be the key to a successful and reliable bond. The manufacturer came across the challenge of finding an accurate and precise way to verify this surface preparation process on a complex shaped, 3D material.

When the company recruited the Surface Analyst, they found just this. The instrument provided an accurate, precise way to measure their complex surfaces prior to bonding. This quantifiable, accurate process helps the manufacturer confidently make a revolutionizing product that significantly helps amputees live their lives comfortably.


How It Works

The Surface Analyst™ deposits a tiny liquid drop (2μl or less) onto a surface and determines the contact angle formed by the drop and the surface. This contact angle provides an immediate, quantitative measure of the state of the surface: it is sensitive to less than a single molecular layer of contamination.  The measurements are fast, taking under 2 seconds.

Unlike other contact angle measuring devices which deposit a fully-formed drop onto the surface, the Surface Analyst™ uses BTG’s patented Ballistic Deposition method to construct a drop on the surface from a pulsed stream of nanoliter-sized droplets. This is a mechanically robust approach that imparts kinetic energy to the growing drop, allowing it to spread to its true equilibrium shape regardless of the presence of surface roughness or imperfections. This gives a contact angle measurement that is a better indication of the true surface than angles obtained from traditional contact angle goniometers.