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On the Design of Microfluidic Implant Coil for Flexible Telemetry System

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6 Author(s)
Amit Qusba ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC, USA ; Anil Kumar RamRakhyani ; Ju-Hee So ; Gerard J. Hayes
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This paper describes the realization of a soft, flexible, coil fabricated by means of a liquid metal alloy encased in a biocompatible elastomeric substrate for operation in a telemetry system, primarily for application to biomedical implantable devices. Fluidic conductors are in fact well suited for applications that require significant flexibility as well as conformable and stretchable devices, such as implantable coils for wireless telemetry. A coil with high conductivity, and therefore low losses and high unloaded Q factor, is required to realize an efficient wireless telemetry system. Unfortunately, the conductivity of the liquid metal alloy considered-eutectic gallium indium (EGaIn)-is approximately one order of magnitude lower than gold or copper. The goal of this paper is to demonstrate that despite the lower conductivity of liquid metal alloys, such as EGaIn, compared with materials, such as copper or gold, it is still possible to realize an efficient biomedical telemetry system employing liquid metal coils on the implant side. A wireless telemetry system for an artificial retina to restore partial vision to the blind is used as a testbed for the proposed liquid metal coils. Simulated and measured results show that power transfer efficiency of 43% and 21% are obtained at operating distances between coils of 5 and 12 mm, respectively. Further, liquid metal based coil retains more than 72% of its performance (voltage gain, resonance bandwidth, and power transfer efficiency) when physically deformed over a curved surface, such as the surface of the human eye. This paper demonstrates that liquid metal-based coils for biomedical implant provide an alternative to stiff and uncomfortable traditional coils used in biomedical implants.

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IEEE Sensors Journal  (Volume:14 ,  Issue: 4 )