Ions-based high bandwidth communication for implantable bioelectronics
Zifang Zhao a, Claudia Cea a, Jennifer Gelinas b c, Dion Khodagholy a
a Department of Electrical Engineering, Columbia University
b Department of Neurology, Columbia University Medical Center
c Institute for Genomic Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center
Proceedings of Neural Interfaces and Artificial Senses (NIAS)
Online, Spain, 2021 September 22nd - 23rd
Organizers: Tiago Costa and Georgios Spyropoulos
Oral, Zifang Zhao, presentation 010
Publication date: 13th September 2021

Recently developments of high data rate neural interfaces challenge the wireless communication protocol for energy efficiency,  bandwidth, form factor, and scalability. Establishing an effective connection through biological tissue remains a difficult task due to its highly conductive nature. We proposed ionic communication(IC) that utilizing body ions for high-speed data communication. Here, we describe the working principles of IC and the effect of material and geometrical properties such as electrode area, material composition, ion type/concentration, and operating frequency based on the results of electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and gain-bandwidth test. Using this approach, we were able to model the parameters and system performance including penetration depth, form factor, and power consumption. We then designed implantable transdermal IC electrodes with several MHz bandwidth. We used these devices to acquire high-quality in vivo electrophysiological data from freely moving rats. The proposed working theory of IC and the resulting devices set the foundation for advanced biomedical implantable systems, such as brain-computer interfaces, that require a low consumption, high bandwidth wireless communication system.

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