NanoDay 2020 Poster 14 – Ladan Jiracek

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Assessing the Electrical Isolation Performance of Microgaskets for Miniature High-Channel-Density Neural-Implant Connectors

Ladan Jiracek (LinkedIn)

Authors: Ladan Jiracek, Paritosh Rustogi, and Jack Judy

Faculty Mentor: Jack Judy, PhD

College: College of Engineering

Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering


Implantable neural-interface systems have been used successfully for decades to treat conditions ranging from the debilitating symptoms of neurodegenerative movement disorders disease to restoring lost sensory functions in prosthetics. Implanted electrode arrays are connected to hermitically sealed electronic circuits used to sense or stimulate bioelectronic information. To enable changes to the implanted electronics (e.g., battery changes, circuit upgrades) without the damage to delicate neural tissue associated with requiring the electrode arrays to be explanted and re-implanted, reliable re-usable implantable connectors are needed. As the field of implantable neurotechnology is driven towards higher-channel-counts system, existing implant connectors cannot scale up to meet demand (i.e., they are too bulky and expensive). Our work has involved microfabricating and testing devices designed to assess the performance of a key component of high-channel-density implant connectors: channel-isolating microgaskets. The electrical isolation of implant-connector channels has been tested in heated saline to quantify dielectric performance as a function of gasket clamping pressures, temperatures, and gasket compositions in an accelerated fashion. In this on-going project, the microgaskets assessed have proven to be very highly effective (10 Mohm at 1 kHz) and resistant to failure over time. We are working towards testing higher-density connectors in harsher conditions to accelerate failure and the understanding need to mitigate these failure modes in a chronically implanted device.


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