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In order to investigate new neurostimulation strategies for micturition recovery in spinal cord injured patients, custom implantable stimulators are required to carry-on chronic animal experiments. However, higher integration of the neurostimulator becomes increasingly necessary for miniaturization purposes, power consumption reduction, and for increasing the number of stimulation channels. As a first step towards total integration, we present in this paper the design of a highly-integrated neurostimulator that can be assembled on a 21-mm diameter printed circuit board. The prototype is based on three custom integrated circuits fabricated in High-Voltage (HV) CMOS technology, and a low-power small-scale commercially available FPGA. Using a step-down approach where the inductive voltage is left free up to 20 V, the inductive power and data recovery front-end is fully integrated. In particular, the front-end includes a bridge rectifier, a 20-V voltage limiter, an adjustable series regulator (5 to 12 V), a switched-capacitor step-down DC/DC converter (1:3, 1:2, or 2:3 ratio), as well as data recovery. Measurements show that the DC/DC converter achieves more than 86% power efficiency while providing around 3.9-V from a 12-V input at 1-mA load, 1:3 conversion ratio, and 50-kHz switching frequency. With such efficiency, the proposed step-down inductive power recovery topology is more advantageous than its conventional step-up counterpart. Experimental results confirm good overall functionality of the system.
Biomedical Circuits and Systems, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:6 , Issue: 4 )
Date of Publication: Aug. 2012