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High density interconnects and flexible hybrid assemblies for active biomedical implants

: Meyer, J.U.; Stieglitz, T.; Scholz, O.; Haberer, W.; Beutel, H.


IEEE transactions on advanced packaging 24 (2001), Nr.3, S.366-374
ISSN: 1521-3323
Fraunhofer IBMT ()

Advanced microtechnologies offer new opportunities for the development of active implants that go beyond the design of pacemakers and cochlea implants. Examples of future implants include neural and muscular stimulators, implantable drug delivery systems, intracorporal monitoring devices and body fluid control systems. The active microimplants demand a high degree of device miniaturization without compromising on design flexibility and biocompatibility requirements. In need for integrating various microcomponents for a complex retina stimulator device, we have developed a novel technique for microassembly and high-density interconnects employing flexible, ultra-thin polymer based substrates. Pads for interconnections, conductive lines, and microelectrodes were embedded into the polyimide substrate as thin films. Photolithography and sputtering has been employed to pattern the microstructures. The novel "MicroFlex interconnection (MFI)" technology was developed to achieve chip size package (CSP) dimensions without the requirement of using bumped flip chips (FC). The MFI is based on a rivet like approach that yields an electric and mechanic contact between the pads on the flexible polyimide substrate and the bare chips or electronic components. Center to center bond pad distances smaller 100 mum were accomplished. The ultra thin substrates and the MFI technology was proved to be biocompatible. Electrical and mechanical tests confirmed that interconnects and assembly of bare chips are reliable and durable. Based on our experience with the retina stimulator implant, we defined design rules regarding the flexible substrate, the bond pads, and the embedded conductive tracks. It is concluded that the MFI opens new venues for a novel generation of active implants with advanced sensing, actuation, and signal processing properties.