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The Small World of Medical Devices Gets Smaller

Photonics Spectra
Mar 1999
Michael D. Wheeler, News Editor

In many ways, the medical device industry is operating by the same adage the semiconductor industry has followed for years: smaller is better. This trend toward miniaturization is attributed to the changing face of healthcare throughout the world.
Procedures like balloon angioplasty, which help millions stave off heart attacks have grown increasingly popular. So, too are invasive procedures that require catheters, drug metering devices and implantable sensors. The need for these devices has spurred a demand for technology capable of machining very small features -- patterns, holes and slots that measure below several hundred microns.
On this scale, the traditional tools of the trade are no longer adequate, affording an opportunity for lasers to step in and fill the void.

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