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Publication numberUS3920888 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 18, 1975
Filing dateJun 4, 1974
Priority dateJun 4, 1974
Publication numberUS 3920888 A, US 3920888A, US-A-3920888, US3920888 A, US3920888A
InventorsHarold N Barr
Original AssigneeNuclear Battery Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Electrical feed-through assembly suitable for electronic devices implantable in a human body
US 3920888 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Barr [75] Inventor: Harold N. Barr, Baltimore, Md.

[73] Assignee: Nuclear Battery Corporation,

Columbia, Md.

[22] Filed: June 4, 1974 [21] Appl. No.: 476,299

[52] US. Cl 174/152 GM 52/759; 128/419 P [51] Int. Cl. H01B 17/26 [58] Field of Search l74/50.56, 50.61, 50.63,

[ Nov. 18, 1975 3,835,864 9/1974 Rasor et a1. 128/419 P FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLlCATIONS 1,278,366 10/1961 France 174/152 GM Primary E.\'aminer Laramie E. Askin Attorney, Agent, or FirmFleit & Jacobson [57] I ABSTRACT An electrical feed-through assembly suitable for electronic devices to be implanted in a human body consisting of a titanium coupler provided with a flange into which is fitted an the alumina sleeve. A titanium coupler is fitted over the other end of alumina sleeve and compression joints are formed between the alumina sleeve and the two titanium parts. A platinum wire is sealed in the titanium coupler and extends [56] References and through the sleeve and titanium coupler. A nickel UNITED STATES PATENTS coating is sputtered onto the inner surface of the tita- 3,137,808 6/1964 Coda et a1. 174/ 152 GM UX nium coupler to provide a solderable surface. The 3,275,359 9/1966 Graff 403/179 flange is used to weld the feed-through assembly onto 3,275,901 9/ 1966 Merritt et a1. 174/50.61 X a housing containing such an electronic device. 3,404,218 10/1968 Thompson 174/151 X 3,487,536 1/1970 Goldstein 52/759 X 5 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures I4 I [A I I2 70 (P fl I0 IO( TITANIUM) I3 (TITANIUM) I3 so 22 c% 90(NICKEL FILM) %/(NICKEL 34, 26 27 I 26 I I '1: 29 29 40 7, 28(METALIZED ,0? 4O (sow 5942s) 4: SURFACE) (GOLD BRAZE) 36 :7 (ALUMINAHO /,j,

I MLUMINABO "520451411250 54 j 3, SURFACE) I ETALI 0 sum-45E) 7, 3,7 1: 3L Ii, v;

\ (601.0 BRAZE) 80 (MD BRAZE) US. Patent Nov. 18, 1975 QMNTZNFMSC Nmr EN qtm Q 40w Q at 4.855 Om mNqtm G409 Ow mu vmtbm QMNIEMSCQQ mm D493 0% EN qmm Q69 0% mm kw mm Ufa ELECTRICAL FEED-THROUGH ASSEMBLY SUITABLE FOR ELECTRONIC DEVICES IMPLANTABLE IN A HUMAN BODY The present invention relates to a novel feed-through assembly particularly suited to seal and to serve as a feed-through for a housing containing an electronic device which is destined for implant into the human body, the seal being liquid and gas tight and the feed-through assembly being body compatible.

Manyfeed-throughs are known in the art, all ostensibly serving the purpose of sealing an electronic device within an enclosure in a liquid and gas-tight fashion while providing electrical feed-through. Despite the pro-liferation of prior art structures in this field, critical problems remain for the particular application concerning the implantation of an electronic device within the human body. Such devices must meet stringent characteristics vis-a-vis being gas-tight and light-tight and also must exhibit total compatability with the human body. Thus far, in the development of the prior, art no feed-through assembly completely satisfies all stringent requirements imposed upon a feed-through for this special case.

Accordingly, the principal purposes and object of the present invention are to provide a novel feed-through assembly that satisfies all requirements for a feedthrough assembly suitable for implantation within a human body.

This object is accomplished, according to the present invention, by using specific materials, using specific geometric configurations for components, and the combining of these specific materials and components into a unique feed-through assembly which, although bearing a superficial resemblance to many prior art suggestions in this field, nevertheless, is characterized by specific and unique differences which serve to make the feed-through assembly of the present invention distinctive and completely suitable for implantation into a human body whereas similarly appearing prior art suggestions are unsuitable for implantation into the human body for one or more reasons. Thus, to appreciate the impact of the present invention and to gain an insight into the extent of its advance, one must pay close attention to detail. The foregoing and other objects and advantages of the present invention will become more evident from the following description of the preferred embodiment of the invention when taken in conjunction with the drawing in which FIG. 1 shows in section the inventive feed-through assembly and FIG. 2 shows a further embodiment of the inventive feed'through assembly. Referring to the drawing, the

feed-through assembly is cylindrical in form with respect to axis AA. The assembly consists of a titanium coupler (CP grade) generally designated by the reference numeral which has a cylindrical annular portion or skirt 12 open at one end 14, the right side as shown in the drawing. The other end of coupler 10 is fashioned with an-integral flange 16. An inwardly extending annular ring 18 having a central axial opening 20 of a diameter less than the opening of the end 14 is located between flange l6 and annular portion or skirt 12. The ring 18 provides an annular shoulder or surface 22 on the side nearest the end 14 and an annular shoulder or surface 24 on the side nearest the flange portion 16 with the outer diameter of the shoulder 24 being less than the outer diameter of the shoulder22. The inner diameter of both shoulders 22 and 24 corresponds to the diameter of the opening 20. The flange portion 16 is also annular (cylindrical) and contains on its face nearest end 14 an annular V-burr 26, the purpose for which will become evident from the following. The flange portion 16 has an inner diameter equal to the outer diameter of the shoulder 24.

Received within the annular opening of the flange portion 16 is an annular alumina sleeve 30 the bore of which is identified by reference numeral32. The outer diameter of the alumina sleeve 30 equals the outer diameter of shoulder 24 and the alumina sleeve 30 is received within the annular opening of the flange 16 with one end 34 resting against shoulder 24 and its outer surface 36 engaged with the inner surface 28 of the annular flange portion 16. The portion of the outer surface 36 of the annular sleeve 30 in contact and engaging inner surface 28 is suitably metalized with titanium by a conventional hydride treatment and a brazed compression joint is formed between surfaces 28 and 36 using as the braze material pure gold; the braze bead is indicated by the reference numeral 40 in the drawing. As the brazing techniques are well known in the art no elaboration is deemed necessary. In the brazing of sur faces 28 and 36, the braze material, exemplified by the bead 40, is placed at the junction of the surfaces and upon subjecting this portion of the assembly to sufficient heat, the braze material by appropriate action enters into the joint between the surfaces. In the preferred embodiment, selection of the brazing material must specifically meet two principal criteria. First, the braze must be made to provide an excellent seal and second, the braze material must not contain any components objectionable to the human body, and must be completely body compatible. The preferred braze material is pure gold as stated above. Other materials, the use of which is not precluded in this invention would include gold-nickle, and gold-palladium alloys with or without minor amounts of chromium.

The other end of the alumina sleeve 30 has received thereon a titanium cap 50 (CP grade) having an annular skirt portion 52 whose inner surface 54 contacts and engages the surface 36 of the alumina sleeve. Inner surface 56 of the cap 50 bears against and contacts the end face 38 of the alumina sleeve 30. The cap 50 is annular in configuration in the sense that a central hole 58 is defined having a diameter approximately half the inner diameter of the alumina sleeve 30 bounded by surface 32. The inner surface 54 engages and contacts the outer surface 36 of alumina sleeve 30 and a second compression joint is formed therebetween like the first. The brazed bead is identified by the reference number 60. The preparation of surface 36 and the technique fof making the compression joint is the same as that described for the compression joint between surfaces 28 and 36. The braze material, like before, is pure gold.

Received within the alumina sleeve 30 is a platinum wire having a diameter equal to the diameter of the hole 58. Wire 70 constitutes the electrical feed-through and is brazed into the opening 58 by conventional brazing techniques utilizing a pure gold braze as described previously. The braze bead is identified by reference number 80. Platinum wire 70 is 99.5% pure and projects out of cap 50 to the left as shown in the drawing which represents the exterior or outside. Wire 70 extends through the alumina sleeve 30 spaced from the surface 32, through the coupler 10 spaced from the surface 20, through the lower cylindrical annular portion l2 spaced from inner surface 13, and the interior of a housing containing an electrical or electronic devices sought to be implanted within a human body. The housing, not shown, would contain an open mouth, with or without a flange, that would abut against surface 27 of 5 the flange 16 in contact with the V-burr 26 which serves the purpose of facilitating an electrical welding operation to seal in a perfectly gas-tight, liquid-tight fashion the flange 16 to the open mouth of the housing or any other opening in the housing.

The inner surface 13 of the lower cylindrical portion 12 contains a coating 90 of pure nickel which has been sputtered onto the surface 13. The purpose of this sputtered nickel film 90 is to provide a surface that adheres excellently to titanium and to which one can solder.

The inventive feed-through assembly, as described, enables the flange 16 to be sealed onto a housing in a gas-tight, liquid-tight manner to satisfy the stringent requirements for electronic devices implantable in a human body and leaves exposed to the human body only materials that are body compatible. An example of such an electronic device would be one to regulate or control heart function. With the flange 16 sealed to the housing, the platinum wire 70 provides the electrical feed-through whereby energy or information can pass into and out of the housing. The brazing of the wire 70 in the hole 58 by means of the particular braze material, as well as, the two compression joints formed by the titaninum cap 50 and alumina sleeve 30 on the one hand, and by the titanium flange l6 and alumina sleeve 30 on the other hand, using the particular braze material provide three additional excellent liquid-tight, gas-tight seals that satisfy the most stringent requirements for such seals and all have the further advantage of total body compatability. One will note that the free end 53 of the skirt portion 52 is spaced substantially from the outer annular surface 29 of the flange 16 so that the braze beads 60 and 40 will be kept totally iso-- lated both physically and electrically.

To highlight the advantages of the present invention, one can construct a feed-through assembly, according to the teachings of the present invention, wherein the flange 16 has a diameter of approximately one-fourth of an inch. For this particular model of construction, the platinum wire 70 is 0.020inch in diameter seated into hole 58 of the titaniumcap which itself is only 0.140inch in diameter. The alumina sleeve 30 is onetenth of an inch in diameter having an inside diameter of approximately 0.040inch or twice that of the platinum wire 70. The alumina sleeve 30 is approximately one-sixth of an inch long and the spacing between the end 53 of the titanium cap 50 and the outer surface 29 of the flange 16 is approximatelyl/IZ of an inch. The spacing between the platinum wire 70 and surface 13 on the inside of annular portion 12 is approximately 0.050inch. The overall length of the unique assembly is approximately one-third of an inch. One immediately recognizes that a feed-through assembly constructed according to the teaching of the present invention can be of relatively small size and yet will meet the stringent liquid-tightness and gas-tightness requirements and will satisfy all requirements for body compatability. The accomplishment of the present inventionrepresents a significant advance in the art.

A modification of the inventive assembly is possible with some sacrifice in quality. The modification is shown in FIG. 2. One may eliminate the titanium cap 50 and use a direct joint between the platinum wire and the inner surface 32 of the alumina sleeve 30. In this instance, however, the diameter of the inner surface 32 is about the same as the diameter of the platinum wire and the inner surface 32 is first metalized by conventional means. A braze ring is applied to the joint between the platinum wire 70 and the metalized portion of the surface 32 of the alumina sleeve 30 and when subjected to appropriate heat, the braze ring will liquify and flow between the outer surface of the platinum wire 70 and the surface which closely embraces the platinum wire 70 in this constructional modification. The braze material used is the same as described previously.

Although the invention has been described in terms of a preferred embodiment, nevertheless changes and modification obvious to one skilled in the art, from a knowledge of these teachings, are deemed to be within the purview of the claimed invention.

What is claimed is:

1. An electrical feed-through assembly suitable for electronic devices implantable in a human body comprising 1. a titanium coupler including an annular skirt por tion open at one end, an annulus integrally formed with the other end of said annular skirt having an inner diameter less than the inner diameter of said annular skirt, and an annular flange integrally formed with said annulus having a larger outer diameter than that of said annulus and having an inner diameter for its opening that is greater than the inner diameter of said annulus to define therebetween a shoulder,

2. an alumina sleeve having an outer diameter equal to the inner diameter of said annular flange and having one end thereof received within the opening of said annular flange and bearing against said shoulder,

3. liquid-tight and gas-tight compression joint means formed between said annular flange and the end of said alumina sleeve received therein and including the inner surface of said annular'flange, the outer surface of said alumina sleeve receiyed within said annular flange, and a braze material, a. said braze material being selected from the group consisting of gold, gold-nickel alloys and.

gold-palladium alloys,

4. a platinum wire extending through said alumina sleeve and projecting out of the other end thereof and extending through said titanium coupler and projecting out of the open end of said annular skirt portion, said wire being spaced from said titanium coupler and the inner surface of said annular skirt portion. 1

5. a nickel film on the inner surface of said annular skirt portion, and

6. liquid-tight and gas-tight means sealing said platinum wire in the other end of said alumina sleeve;

2. An electrical feed-through assembly suitable for electronic devices implantable in a human body comprising l. a titanium coupler including an annular skirt portion open at one end, an annulus integrally formed with the other end of said annular skirt having an inner diameter less than the inner diameter of said annular skirt, and an annular flange integrally formed with said annulus having a larger outer diameter than that of said annulus and having an inner diameter for its opening that is greater than the inner diameter of said annulus to define therebetween a shoulder,

inner diameter less than the inner diameter of said annular skirt, and an annular flange integrally 2. an alumina sleeve having an outer diameter equal to the inner diameter of said annular flange and having one end thereof received within the opening of said annular flange and bearing against said shoulder,

3. first liquid-tight and gas-tight compression joint means formed between said annular flange and the 2. an alumina sleeve having an outer diameter equal 5 end of said alumina sleeve received therein and into the inner diameter of said annular flange and cluding the inner surface of said annular flange, the havingone end thereof received within the opening outer surface of said alumina received within said of said annular flange and bearing against said annular flange and a braze material, shoulder, a. said braze material being selected from the 3. liquid-tight and gas-tight compression joint means 10 group consisting of gold, gold-nickel alloys and formed between said annular flange and the end of gold-palladium alloys, said alumina sleeve received therein and'including 4. a titanium cap having a central opening received the inner surface of said annular flange, the outer V on the other end of said alumina sleeve with a skirt surface of said alumina sleeve received within said portion of said cap engaging the outer surface of annular flange, and a braze material, said alumina sleeve in the vicinity of said other end, a. said braze material being selected from the said skirt portion terminating spaced from said angroup consisting of gold, gold-nickel alloys, and nular flange, gold-palladium alloys, 5. a platinum wire extending through said alumina 4. a platinum wire extending through said alumina sleeve and projecting out of the opening in said sleeve and projecting out of the other end thereof cap, and extending through said titanium coupler and extending through said titanium coupler and and projecting out of the open end of said annular projecting out of the open end of saidannular skirt skirt portion, said wire being spaced from said titaportion, said wire being spaced from said titanium nium coupler and the inner surface of said annular coupler and the inner surface of said annular porskirt portion, tion, but fitting closely within said alumina sleeve. 6. a nickel film on the inner surface of said annular 5. a nickel film on the inner surface of said annular skirt portion,

skirt portion, and 7. second liquid-tight and gas-tight compression joint 6. a liquid-tight, gas-tight joint means formed bemeans formed between the other end of said alutween said wire and said alumina sleeve and includmina sleeve and said cap received thereon and ining the surface of said wire, the inner surface of cluding the outer surface of said alumina sleeve in said alumina sleeve, and a brazematerial, the vicinity of said other end, the inner surface of a. said braze material being selected from the the skirt portion of said cap, and a braze material,

group consisting of gold, gold-nickel alloys, and a. said braze material being selected from the gold-palladium alloys. group consisting of gold, gold-nickel alloys and 3. An electrical feed-through assembly suitable for gold-palladium alloys,

electronic devices implantable in a human body com- 8. said first and second compression joint means prising being spaced apart to be physically and electrically 1. a titanium coupler including an annular skirt porisolated, and

tion open at one end, an annulus integrally formed 9. liquid-tight and gas-tight means sealing said platiwith the other end of said annular skirt having an 40 num wire in said opening to said cap.

4. An electrical feed-through assembly as defined in claim 3 wherein said braze material is pure gold.

5. An electrical feed-through assembly as defined in claim 3 wherein the plane of said annular flange lies normal to the axis of said coupler with one face thereof nearer said annular skirt and the other face thereof remotefrom said annular skirt, and a V-burr is integrally formed on the face of said annular flange nearer said annular skirt.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification174/152.0GM, 607/36
International ClassificationA61F2/02, H01B17/30, A61N1/375
Cooperative ClassificationA61F2250/0001, A61N1/3754, H01B17/305
European ClassificationH01B17/30B1, A61N1/375A2