Retinal Implant

Cicor is producing ceramic substrates for retinal implants developed by German company Retina Implant AG. Absolute precision and reliability are required to meet the exacting standards.

About three million people worldwide suffer from an insidious eye disease that leads to total blindness. A microelectronic retinal implant gives these people back some quality of life and enable them again the partially seeing. This chip was developed by Retina Implant AG.

Our mission: To restore sight to blind people and thus increase their quality of life. This requires courageous, motivated people and properly developed expertise to provide an outstanding technical solution.

Leading innovator

Retina Implant AG, based in Reutlingen in Germany, is an innovative developer and producer of medical products for visually impaired and blind patients. As one of two global companies, the Retina Implant AG manages to bring functional subretinal retinal implants on the market. One of the main things required to get closer to this aim is a ceramic substrate that links the cabling to the polyimide ribbon. This ceramic substrate is manufactured in thin film technology and produced at Cicor in Ulm.

 

 

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Exacting requirements – a customized solution

 

One of the central requirements for the implant is a filigree thin film substrate appropriate for medical use. Only biocompatible materials could be used for the manufacturing: Ceramic as the carrier substrate and the other metallizations of gold, platinum or titanium. The biggest challenge is presented by the complexity of the substrate structure: The resistance of the conductors must achieve the lowest possible level so the implants work reliably with minimal energy consumption.

Through the use of highly specialized thin film techniques of Cicor a sophisticated ceramic substrate was manufactured, that meets the stringent requirements for the long-term use in the sensitive eye. Our technological know-how and the transparency of all production processes met all customer specifications by the Retina Implant AG and promoted the rapid development to the market.

Complex solutions depend on experience, technological capabilities and highest quality. Cicor is synonymous with all these things and is a proven partner for companies like Retina Implant AG.

Huge manufacturing expertise in tiny structures

 

The implants are made up of four main parts: A chip for recognizing and processing images (4), a thin film substrate (3) and a wireless power supply (2) with a cable linking it to the rest of the implant (1). The core of the implant is a CMOS microchip of about 3 mm in diameter, on which 40 x 40 pixels are arranged. The size of one pixel is around 70 x 70 μm². The crucial link between the chip and the rest of the implant is supplied by a flexible substrate and the thin film ceramic. This technically ingenious solution, made by Cicor, meets all requirements with regard to connectivity and biocompatibility.

Cicor is responsible for developing the coating technology and for the photolithographic patterning. The company paid particular attention to optimizing conductor properties. Wire bonding is used to make the electrical connection between the flexible and the ceramic substrate. The whole unit is then sealed in silicone. The reliability and functionality of the products made at Cicor have been confirmed in extensive tests.

The path to innovative solutions

The challenge

  • Reliability and functionality
    • High degree of reliability and precision, considering the device's Long-term deployment in the human eye
    • Low or Zero defect density
    • Interference resistance
  • New product development
    • Implementation of novel technological processes
    • Involvement in the development of a new medical device
  • Miniaturization
    • Precise structuring to tight tolerances
    • Small, flexible, highly complex design
  • Technical requirements
    • Complex conduxtor path geometry
    • Demanding assembly onto a flexible substrate

Requirements

  • Materials
    • Polyimide
    • Gold
    • Biocompatible, Long-Lasting materials
  • Precision
    • Stable processes
    •  Technology know-how
    •  Maximum cleanliness
  • Quality
    • Guaranteed product Quality
    • Near-zero fault tolerance
  • Experience
    • Cutting-edge technologies
    • Competent personnel
    • Top development expertise
  • Partnership

The Cicor solution

  • Flexible, polyimide-based thin-film substrate
  • Biocompatible materials
  • Joint new product development
  • Near-Zero fault tolerance
  • Complex microassembly

Benefits

for Implandata Ophthalmic Products GmbH
  • Service from a single source: from development to mass production
  • A partner with experience in substrate manufacturing, assembly and interconnect technologies
  • Exploitation of synergies in product development
  • State-of-the-art production facilities
  • Innovative Technologies - engineered for top reliability
for the end customer
  • Enables first-ever long-term Monitoring of intraocular pressure
  • Easy read-out by the patient
  • Increased quality of life
  • Decreased risk of blindness
  • Maximum wearing comfort