Novel Ultra-Flexible Hybrid Circuits for Intraocular Retinal Prostheses

Award Information
Agency:
Department of Health and Human Services
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$185,659.00
Award Year:
2007
Program:
STTR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
1R41EY018794-01
Award Id:
85667
Agency Tracking Number:
EY018794
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
920 Main Campus Drive, Suite 101, RALEIGH, NC, 27606
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
131630852
Principal Investigator:
JAY LEWIS
(919) 248-1414
JLEWIS@RTI.ORG
Business Contact:
HELMUT ECKHARDT
() -
eckhardt@premitec.com
Research Institute:
RESEARCH TRIANGLE INSTITUTE

RESEARCH TRIANGLE INSTITUTE
BOX 12194, 3040 CORNWALLIS RD
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, 27709-2194

Domestic nonprofit research organization
Abstract
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I project proposes development of Novel Ultra-Flexible Integrated Packaging for Intraocular Retinal Stimulators. In these flexible retinal implants ultra-thin silicon chips (lt30 mm thick) are fully embedded in thin polyimide flex cables protecting interconnects, connections pads, and cables/leads between chip and flex substrate from the corrosive effects of the biological fluids, a major problem with long-term flexible chron ic implants. The ultra-thin CMOS microstimulator chips will be flexible enough to fully implant through a minimal incision, and enable high density retinal stimulation. In Phase I of the project we will demonstrate the fabrication approach and extremely hi gh flexibility of fully encapsulated, ultra-thin Si chips. In our approach, we bond ultra-thin and extremely flexible Si chips directly on a flexible polyimide substrate mounted temporarily on a standard Si carrier wafer. All around encapsulation is achiev ed by microfabricating a second polyimide layer(s) directly on top of the Si chip / flex cable, thus embedding the chip completely between polyimide layers. This approach eliminates many potentially weak connection points. No solder bumps or underfill mate rials are used in this process, improving overall biocompatibility and allowing extremely high mechanical flexibility of the structure. The use of a standard carrier wafer during processing allows the fabrication of high density interconnects between the m icrostimulator and the retinal array using standard microfabrication procedures. The use of ultra-thin Si die (lt30 mm thick) provides the whole structure with enough flexibility after release of the carrier wafer to allow the device to be folded/rolled to a radius of lt 1 mm. By applying Premitec's proprietary PECVD/polyimide barrier coatings to the outer surfaces, long-term protection of the device and biocompatibility are further improved. The use of a monolithically fabricated structure, including micro fabricated interconnects, stimulating array and a fully function CMOS microstimulator can enable the ultimate vision of a fully intra-ocular system with high spatial resolution.Project Narrative Efforts to develop retinal prostheses are motivated b y the need to treat incurable diseases of the outer retina that blind 100,000s of individuals around the world. Age- related macular degeneration (AMD) and retinitis pigmentosa (RP) are leading causes of blindness in the developed world and expected to inc rease dramatically with aging of the population. Retinal prostheses provide a sense of sight. The prototypes under test only provide crude sensations as of yet, but multiple efforts that are directed at more sophisticated devices hold the promise of provid ing more visual function. The progress made by us so far with support from NIH and the proposed work have the potential to lead to a successful commercialization of a fully implantable intraocular retinal stimulator and make a real impact on public health.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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