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ECR Plasma Treatment of Polymer Tubing Such As Catheters

Award Information

National Science Foundation
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2002 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Spire Corporation
One Patriots Park Bedford, MA 01730-2396
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2002
Title: ECR Plasma Treatment of Polymer Tubing Such As Catheters
Agency: NSF
Contract: N/A
Award Amount: $100,000.00


This Phase I Small Business Innovation Research project will develop plasma processes to treat both internal and external surfaces of medical polymer tubing such as catheters. The treatments will facilitate attachment of bioactive coatings, will clean, sterilize, and reduce friction; similar processes can also deposit organic or inorganic coatings. Plasmas driven by electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) will treat the lumen and external surfaces more uniformly, and over a greater range of process parameters, than conventional glow discharge or corona plasmas. Phase I will demonstrate that all treated surfaces of polymer tubing samples have been significantly and uniformly activated by the ECR plasma treatment without causing damage or discoloration of the material. A final Phase I test will evaluate the uniformity of a heparin-containing bioactive coating applied to the lumen wall of actual hemodialysis catheters. Phase II will refine plasma processing parameters for attachment of antithrombotic and antibiotic coatings, sterilization, pore sealing, and removal of contaminants on the lumen wall and exterior surfaces of medical catheters. Phase II would also begin applying research results to an ECR plasma activation system for Phase III production and commercialization. The ECR plasma process should be expandable to large-scale, low-cost commercial production of polymer tubing for catheters. A surface treatment to facilitate attachment of bioactive coatings and for cleaning, sterilization, and friction reduction would add both therapeutic and economic value to dialysis and other catheter types. The same plasma treatments can be applied to tubing for other medical and non-medical applications, such as prevention of biofilm formation in dental water lines

Principal Investigator:

Ward Halverson

Business Contact:

Small Business Information at Submission:

Spire Corporation
One Patriots Park Bedford, MA 01730

Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No