BIOMEDICAL DEVICE MANUFACTURING: Laser-enabled manufacturing improves cochlear implants

Research groups at Laser Zentrum Hannover EV (LZH; Hannover, Germany) are developing laser-based technologies for improved insertion techniques and exact fitting of cochlear implants (CIs) in the inner ear, as well as better quality for residual hearing.

The Surface Technology group is currently working on a process to simplify the operation and improve the insertion technique of the electrode into the cochlea. Laser melting is used to form nickel-titanium shape memory alloys (NiTi-SMAs) into a highly individual implant.

In addition, the Laser Micromachining group is working to improve the surface of implants: By using a femtosecond laser, the platinum electrodes can be structured to reduce attachment of connective tissue and improve interaction with the nerve cells, as well as to decrease frequency-dependent electrical resistance.

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