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At the core

June 10, 2013


The Device Development Lab is a core facility within the Centre for Research in Image-Guided Therapeutics (CeRIGT) at Sunnybrook Research Institute (SRI). Here, scientists, engineers and their teams are designing, making and testing prototype medical devices for clinical evaluation and commercialization. The aim is to develop more effective and safer ways to detect disease, deliver therapy and guide interventions.

Located on M7, the lab has several state-of-the-art facilities. These include an advanced machine shop, a clean room and equipment to make tiny components of devices. The lab is also equipped with benches for the building and testing of medical devices such as ultrasound transducers, magnetic resonance coils and catheters.

The advanced machine shop contains a two-ton waterjet cutter, computer numerical control milling machine and lathe, and 3-D rapid prototyping machines. This automated equipment uses computer-aided design software to craft components for the devices researchers are making, such as an ultrasound probe that is integral to a new technology to treat prostate cancer with focused ultrasound.

The clean room is a highly controlled environment where the tiny electronic parts used in probes for imaging and therapeutic devices are fabricated. Here, air quality, temperature and humidity are kept at precise levels to ensure these components work and are sterile.

Several CeRIGT researchers are also designing and testing cardiac devices for use with imaging technology. At the catheter testing station, scientists and their teams are building catheters by using specialized equipment that measures specific properties such as torque and puncture force. These devices are designed to help cardiologists mend damaged heart tissue and open clogged blood vessels.

Equipment in the micro-device fabrication room includes a mill, lathe, dicing saw and micro drill that are used to make hair-thin cuts as fine as 15 microns, and small holes for parts such as connectors and adapters used in ultrasound probes and catheters. There is also a lapping system that uses aluminum oxide and silica polishing fluid to grind finely and polish piezoelectric sensors used in low- and high-frequency ultrasound devices.

Sunnybrook Research Institute is the only hospital-based research institute in Canada with a device development lab of this scope. The $160-million CeRIGT was built through an establishing $75-million award from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, with additional contributions from the provincial government and industry.

You can learn more about the facility by visiting

Fedon Orfanidis operates one of the manual machines