AccuCoat’s optical coatings for medical optics support a wide variety of applications, including endoscope diagnostics, minimally invasive surgery, robotic surgery, augmented reality vision, medical lasers, ophthalmic devices, and LED surgical suite lighting. Because human outcomes ride on the precision and effectiveness of these instruments, we are keenly aware of how vital our role is in the manufacturing chain.
With rapidly changing medical technology advancements headlining the industry news almost daily, keeping up with challenging coating design requirements is a large part of what we offer our customers in this market space.
A polarizing, two beamsplitter system, using different wavelengths, and requiring double AR coatings on glass to treat eye disease was designed and manufactured for a customer with tight tolerances for this in-office ophthalmic system. Laser surgery is performed using these prisms as part of the assembly to guide and control the laser while treating glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and other retinal diseases.
Let’s talk tiny.
The medical community is advancing minimally invasive options for surgery and treatments, which have their own set of demands to create and produce. Field-testing under these circumstances is most definitely different from a military application. Durability takes on an entirely new meaning when you are talking about an endoscope or robotic camera arm. AccuCoat can clean, coat, and test these almost-micro optics with our time-tested processes supported by our custom tooling. Our ultrasonic cleaning station and packaging processes are certified to following Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory accepted procedure.
As the medical world sees the rise in robotic surgeries where a surgeon can be operating from another country, specialized coated NIR optics allow the team to manage targeted tissue removal. Minimal autofluorescence and absorption of biomolecules in tissue, as well as low light scattering function, makes NIR imaging technology a winner for the ability to offer real-time surgical imaging in a patient, with minimal healthy tissue damage or removal.
LEDs color-correcting properties
Most people do not stop to think about the need for having correct wavelength lighting in the operating suite. Not only do LEDs offer a more powerful directional light source, but they offer increased accuracy and color separation when used to determine if the surgeon is removing bone, nerve, or tumor. Brighter does not mean better. Surgical lighting must carefully balance luminance, shadow management, volume, and temperature. Some procedures take hours, and so correct lighting minimizes glare and eye strain. LEDs do not produce IR rays; however, some heat is produced. A quality LED light minimizes radiant heat. AccuCoat coatings provide important color correction for the best possible color separation.
NIR imaging for laser scanning microscopes
NIR-LSCM (laser scanning confocal microscopy) for deep-tissue imaging and research has brought significant changes to how we look at tissue samples and blood vessels in living beings. NIR fluorescence lighting is being tested for immunotherapies as it offers low autofluorescence, deep tissue penetration, and minimal scattering. In addition, it is non-invasive for living tissue when used for monitoring treatment success.
Testing for environmental toughness
While we do create our coatings to meet MIL-SPEC and ISO standards for abrasion, adhesion, humidity cycling, and temperature cycling, we can include laser damage testing or salt spray from our lab partners when required. Our in-house testing suite offers Perkin Elmer spectrophotometer testing for IR (LWIR 2.5 - 50 um) and UV-IVs-NIR, along with chambers for temperature and humidity cycling.
It’s all about the optical coating.
Custom coating designs, concept prototyping, production and testing for NIR imaging applications, LED lighting, and augmented reality are just some of our core business today. Our medical optics customers rely on us for guidance and support regarding material choices and coating designs for best outcomes and reliability. With the ability to coat on flat, concave, or convex shapes, we’ve opened the door for medical and research customers to find coating support for designs, prototyping, low-volume or high-volume coating needs.
We coated a unique set of four optic elements for an assembly, installed within an automated colonoscopy product to work in conjunction with a camera. The disposable plastic optics were a smaller 0.5” size and included mirrors. All optics received AR coatings. Critical masking distribution and uniformity of coating were key for a successful project, as the optics were used in a 360-degree ring for the most visibility while imaging the patient.
Several iterations were needed as the overall project parameters shifted during development.