Ultrasonically Controlled/Powered Implantable Medical Devices
Implantable biomedical devices have been widely used to treat a variety of diseases for many decades. If allowed by the size and form factor, batteries have been the power source of choice in implantable devices (e.g., cardiac pacemakers). Batteries are, however, still big and come in shapes that are not ideal for minimally invasive deployment. Inductive powering is another commonly used energy source in which two well-aligned coils allow a transmitter to power the implanted receiver (e.g., cochlear implants). Once the receiver coil becomes small (mm-scale), the inductive powering link becomes very inefficient and sensitive to slight misalignment between the coils. Hence, it becomes increasingly difficult to power small devices implanted deep (>5 cm) within the tissue using inductive powering. Ultrasonic powering is an attractive alternative for powering miniature devices since it can penetrate deep into the tissue, it has greater efficiency at mm-scale receiver size, it can be omni-directional, and it is more amenable to miniaturization.
In this dissertation, I describe the use of ultrasonic waves to power and control mm-scale implantable devices. After a detailed look at ultrasonic transmission link, I will discuss factors affecting the power transfer efficiency. These include the effect of receiver aspect ratio and size on the resonant frequency and factors related to acoustic and electrical matching. A 3D printed acoustic matching layer in then described. I will discuss two applications using ultrasound to power and control implantable devices. The first is a low-power on-off acoustic control scheme to reduce the standby power consumption in implantable devices. The second is an ultrasonically powered electrolytic ablator with an on-board micro-light-source for the treatment of cancer.