Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Materials Science and Engineering

First Advisor's Name

W. Kinzy Jones

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Wenzhi Li

Third Advisor's Name

Jiuhua Chen

Fourth Advisor's Name

Arvind Agarwal


Feedthrough, Biocompatibility, Hermeticity

Date of Defense



Typically, hermetic feedthroughs for implantable devices, such as pacemakers, use a alumina ceramic insulator brazed to a platinum wire pin. This combination of material has a long history in implantable devices and has been approved by the FDA for implantable hermetic feedthroughs. The growing demand for increased input/output (I/O) hermetic feedthroughs for implantable neural stimulator applications could be addressed by developing a new, cofired platinum/alumina multilayer ceramic technology in a configuration that supports 300 plus I/Os, which is not commercially available.

Seven platinum powders with different particle sizes were used to develop different conductive cofire inks to control the densification mismatch between platinum and alumina. Firing profile (ramp rate, burn- out and holding times) and firing atmosphere and concentrations (hydrogen (wet/dry), air, neutral, vacuum) were also optimized. Platinum and alumina exhibit the alloy formation reaction in a reduced atmosphere. Formation of any compound can increase the bonding of the metal/ceramic interface, resulting in enhanced hermeticity. The feedthrough fabricated in a reduced atmosphere demonstrated significantly superior performance than that of other atmospheres. A composite structure of tungsten/platinum ratios graded thru the via structure (pure W, 50/50 W/Pt, 80/20 Pt/W and pure Pt) exhibited the best performance in comparison to the performance of other materials used for ink metallization.

Studies on the high temperature reaction of platinum and alumina, previously unreported, showed that, at low temperatures in reduced atmosphere, Pt3Al or Pt8Al21 with a tetragonal structure would be formed. Cubic Pt3Al is formed upon heating the sample to temperatures above 1350 °C. This cubic structure is the equilibrium state of Pt-Al alloy at high temperatures. The alumina dissolves into the platinum ink and is redeposited as a surface coating. This was observed on both cofired samples and pure platinum thin films coated on a 99.6 Wt% alumina and fired at 1550 °C. Different mechanisms are proposed to describe this behavior based on the size of the platinum particle.





Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).