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Wireless retina implant with optical energy supply

: Velten, T.; Knoll, T.; Stracke, F.; Harzic, R. le; Jaeger, T.; Rammensee, M.; Kurz, O.; Klesy, S.; Januschowski, K.; Sermeus, L.; Szurman, P.; Olsommer, Y.; Hoffmann, K.

Volltext urn:nbn:de:0011-n-6218948 (1.4 MByte PDF)
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Erstellt am: 3.2.2021

Current directions in biomedical engineering 6 (2020), Nr.2, Art. 20202007, 4 S.
ISSN: 2364-5504
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer IBMT ()

We present the first results of work towards a foil-based epiretinal prosthesis that can stimulate retinal cells. The prosthesis receives trigger signals and energy in the form of high intensity infrared radiation. Array-like silicon photodiodes with attached thin film electrodes convert the received infrared light into electrical stimulation signals, which are intended to stimulate ganglion cells. The photodiodes are arranged like stones in a mosaic on an only 10 µm thin and thus flexible polymer foil. Like this, the prosthesis can adapt to the curved shape of the eye and will have close contact with the retina.
The photodiode array is fabricated on silicon wafers. Etched trenches guarantee the electrical separation between the individual photodiodes and pixels. Spectral sensitivities of backside-illuminated photodiodes were measured for wafers thinned to different thicknesses. The thin polymer foil is realized by spin coating polyimide on the photodiode array followed by imidization. Via holes are etched into the polyimide film for contacting the pads of the photodiodes. First spin coating tests were performed using silicon wafers without photodiodes but with metal pads and with etched trenches to simulate the gap between individual photodiodes.
Although the thickness of the spin-coated polyimide layer was very inhomogeneous, we succeeded in realizing vias for connecting contact pads by thin film gold tracks crossing deep trenches. The realized via holes had inclined sidewalls as desired. Electrical measurements showed sufficient electrical contact between two connected pads.