Microelectrode Array with Integrated Pneumatic Channels for Dynamic Control of Electrode Position in Retinal Implants

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2292-2298
Journal / PublicationIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Online published27 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021



Retinal prostheses are biomedical devices that directly utilize electrical stimulation to create an artificial vision to help patients with retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa. A major challenge in the microelectrode array (MEA) design for retinal prosthesis is to have a close topographical fit on the retinal surface. The local retinal topography can cause the electrodes in certain areas to have gaps up to several hundred micrometers from the retinal surface, resulting in impaired, or totally lost electrode functions in specific areas of the MEA. In this manuscript, an MEA with dynamically controlled electrode positions was proposed to reduce the electrode-retina distance and eliminate areas with poor contact after implantation. The MEA prototype had a polydimethylsiloxane and polyimide hybrid flexible substrate with gold interconnect lines and poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate electrodes. Ring shaped counter electrodes were placed around the main electrodes to measure the distance between the electrode and the model retinal surface in real time. The results showed that this MEA design could reduce electrode-retina distance up to 100 μm with 200 kPa pressure. Meanwhile, the impedance between the main and counter electrodes increased with smaller electrode-model retinal surface distance. Thus, the change of electrode-counter electrode impedance could be used to measure the separation gap and to confirm successful electrode contact without the need of optical coherence tomography scan. The amplitude of the stimulation signal on the model retinal surface with originally poor contact could be significantly improved after pressure was applied to reduce the gap.

Research Area(s)

  • Conductive polymer, Electrodes, Microelectrodes, Pneumatic actuators, Position control, Position measurement, Prosthetics, Real-time systems, Retina, Silicon, Substrates, Surface impedance, Surface topography

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