In the best of health thanks to artificial hips, dental implants or blood sugar strips

Small and fine - this is how minimally invasive medical technology could be described in general terms. The requirements placed on the surface structures of a wide variety of medical products are becoming more complex, and at the same time the functionalities are being further developed.


Miniaturization plays an important role in the development of materials and products for implantology, surgery and regenerative medicine. With the reduction of structures to nanometer dimensions, optical, mechanical, electrical or chemical properties and thus functions are specifically designed.

Health olé

A specific topography, contour, layer thickness or roughness is elementary for the function, this also is the case for the coating. Medical products are increasingly being given additional functions with the use of special coatings. Examples are stents, artificial joints or blood sugar strips. Coatings which cover stents or artificial joints are used to minimize incompatibilities or rejections or to optimize adhesion. Chemical compounds are used to coat blood sugar strips. These react with the applied blood and generate the desired measured results.

Example: Artificial joint head

In surface structure, further parameters are added to improve both function and compatibility. The complex parameters of medical products present surface measurement technology with special challenges. This becomes clear in the case of artificial joints. The joint head should be as smooth as possible for easy insertion. At the same time, however, a certain roughness of the remaining material is necessary for better adhesion with the surrounding tissue. Only a few nanometres of difference are decisive here. Because of the spherical surface, a three-dimensional measurement is also necessary.

Non-contact and non-destructive

The solutions are optical techniques. They allow non-contact analysis of X, Y and Z values and thus provide information about the exact roughness without damaging the surface. The surface structure of intraocular lenses is also decisive for success and compatibility. The information about the contour of the impellers of blood pumps, the surface of stents and catheter balloons as well as the roughness and step heights of blood sugar test strips must be highly precise. Here, small inaccuracies or burrs can also become problematic.

Comply with legal requirements

Especially in the field of medical technology, the Medical Product Act requires a continuous, reliable and high level of quality that guarantees compatibility for patients. In order to meet this requirement, more and more companies rely on optical surface measurement technology from FRT. It is able to check the most important parameters such as roughness, geometry, 3D topography or layer thickness without contact. This is an important feature for sensitive surfaces where tactile methods would lead to incorrect results or even damage the sample.

The technical solution from FRT

The optical surface measuring tools of the MicroProf®series offer many other significant advantages. On the one hand they are versatile and flexible due to their multi-sensor capability and can characterize several parameters with one tool. On the other hand, they have a high automation potential, since the measuring processes are completed within a few seconds and can be fully integrated into production lines. Special sensors are available for coating thickness measurement that uses interferometric methods to non-destructively determine coating thicknesses from a few millimeters to a few nanometers. Multilayer systems can also be measured on a substrate.

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