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05.07.2018, Mainz, Germany

SCHOTT and Primoceler join forces to advance the next generation of ultra-miniature, ultra-reliable medical implants

The technology group SCHOTT has entered into an agreement to acquire Primoceler Oy to expand its hermetic packaging portfolio with pioneering glass micro bonding technology. This process enables the manufacture of vacuum-tight, ultra-miniature electronic and optical devices with superior reliability. Based on laser technology, this state-of-the-art bonding method can be completed without any heat or added materials, allowing device packaging for sensitive electronics made with only transparent materials, such as glass. Offering excellent biocompatibility with new glass types, the technology creates new possibilities for wafer level chip scale packaging (WL-CSP) in a wide range of applications, including medical implants, MEMS devices, and other reliability-critical electronic and optical devices.
Advancements in the medical industry, particularly for implantable devices, have led to the development of a new type of smart active implants. These implants are more intelligent: they have the ability to transmit and capture data and can also be equipped with optical components, such as optical sensors or cameras. Subsequently, these sensitive components must be safely encapsulated to protect against potentially damaging working environment hazards (such as humidity, extreme temperatures, corrosive chemicals, and bodily fluids) while still delivering high-level electrical performance and smooth transmission of optical and radiofrequency signals.

Unique Laser Bonding Allows Miniaturized Packaging of Heat-Sensitive Components

The innovative glass micro bonding services offered by Finnish pioneer Primoceler Oy allows the manufacture of truly reliable miniature packages for implantable devices made only with glass. By directly laser bonding glass-to-glass or glass-to-silicon, devices can be manufactured without a gap between the layers, leading to ever-smaller wafer and chip scale devices and medical implants. In addition, the process allows for creation of specified conditions inside the encapsulation cavity, including integration of certain gases or even a complete vacuum.

This unique solution for glass micro bonding does not require any heat and can be done at room temperature, creating the possibility for electronics with extreme heat sensitivities to be safely encapsulated. The bonding process also does not require any additive materials, which means less risk for material failure or outgassing, and therefore enhanced reliability of the packaged components.

Biocompatible Full-Glass Micro Packages Enable Next Generation Medical Implants

For the past 40 years, titanium has been the packaging material of choice for medical implants. However, the use of glass wafers has increased rapidly in recent times. The core reasons are the superior properties glass offers as a packaging material, including its biocompatibility. Its excellent transparency to radio frequencies (RF) opens up new possibilities for active and passive medical implants, since glass packages could enable efficient recharging, data transfer, and reprogramming of implants.  Furthermore, transparency to visible light makes full-glass micro packages suitable for a wide range of optical applications.
Biocompatible full-glass micro packages offer new possibilities for the next generation of medical implants, such as retinal implants and neuro stimulators, blood pressure sensors, and devices for cardiac rhythm management, including cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) and implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) devices.

Complete Portfolio of Hermetic Components and Packaging Services

With this acquisition, SCHOTT will vertically integrate offering Primoceler’s hermetic bonding services alongside its longstanding core competence of hermetic packaging components for a variety of high-reliability applications. The transaction is expected to be completed before the end of 2018, subject to certain customary closing conditions. Upon finalization of the acquisition, the company will conduct its business activities under the new name SCHOTT Primoceler Oy based in Tampere, Finland, as part of SCHOTT’s Electronic Packaging division.

SCHOTT has an established portfolio of vacuum-tight seals made with only inorganic materials (such as glass, ceramics, and metal) that prevent the intrusion of moisture and harmful gases. The portfolio includes hermetically sealed packages and feedthroughs based on glass-to-metal sealing (GTMS) and ceramic-to-metal sealing (CerTMS®) technologies, full ceramic packages, as well as HermeS® glass wafer substrates with hermetically sealed “through glass vias” (TGV), enabling wafer level chip size packaging.

SCHOTT is a leading international technology group in the areas of specialty glass and glass-ceramics. The company has more than 130 years of outstanding development, materials and technology expertise and offers a broad portfolio of high-quality products and intelligent solutions. SCHOTT is an innovative enabler for many industries, including the home appliance, pharma, electronics, optics, life sciences, automotive and aviation industries. SCHOTT strives to play an important part of everyone’s life and is committed to innovation and sustainable success. The group maintains a global presence with production sites and sales offices in 33 countries. With its workforce of approximately 15,000 employees, sales of 2.05 billion euros were generated in fiscal year 2016/2017. The parent company, SCHOTT AG, has its headquarters in Mainz (Germany) and is solely owned by the Carl Zeiss Foundation. As a foundation company, SCHOTT assumes special responsibility for its employees, society and the environment.
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Joana Kornblum
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