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Exponential Current Pulse Generation for Efficient Very High-Impedance Multisite Stimulation

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2 Author(s)
Ethier, S. ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., Ecole Polytech., Montréal, QC, Canada ; Sawan, M.

We describe in this paper an intracortical current-pulse generator for high-impedance microstimulation. This dual-chip system features a stimuli generator and a high-voltage electrode driver. The stimuli generator produces flexible rising exponential pulses in addition to standard rectangular stimuli. This novel stimulation waveform is expected to provide superior energy efficiency for action potential triggering while releasing less toxic reduced ions in the cortical tissues. The proposed fully integrated electrode driver is used as the output stage where high-voltage supplies are generated on-chip to significantly increase the voltage compliance for stimulation through high-impedance electrode-tissue interfaces. The stimuli generator has been implemented in 0.18-μm CMOS technology while a 0.8-μm CMOS/DMOS process has been used to integrate the high-voltage output stage. Experimental results show that the rectangular pulses cover a range of 1.6 to 167.2 μA with a DNL and an INL of 0.098 and 0.163 least-significant bit, respectively. The maximal dynamic range of the generated exponential reaches 34.36 dB at full scale within an error of ± 0.5 dB while all of its parameters (amplitude, duration, and time constant) are independently programmable over wide ranges. This chip consumes a maximum of 88.3 μ W in the exponential mode. High-voltage supplies of 8.95 and -8.46 V are generated by the output stage, boosting the voltage swing up to 13.6 V for a load as high as 100 kΩ.

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Biomedical Circuits and Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:5 ,  Issue: 1 )