Remote electrical stimulation by means of implanted rectifiers.

TitleRemote electrical stimulation by means of implanted rectifiers.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsIvorra, A
JournalPloS one
KeywordsAnimals, Electric Stimulation, Electric Stimulation: instrumentation, Electric Stimulation: methods, Electrodes, Implanted, Oligochaeta, Software

Miniaturization of active implantable medical devices is currently compromised by the available means for electrically powering them. Most common energy supply techniques for implants–batteries and inductive couplers–comprise bulky parts which, in most cases, are significantly larger than the circuitry they feed. Here, for overcoming such miniaturization bottleneck in the case of implants for electrical stimulation, it is proposed to make those implants act as rectifiers of high frequency bursts supplied by remote electrodes. In this way, low frequency currents will be generated locally around the implant and these low frequency currents will perform stimulation of excitable tissues whereas the high frequency currents will cause only innocuous heating. The present study numerically demonstrates that low frequency currents capable of stimulation can be produced by a miniature device behaving as a diode when high frequency currents, neither capable of thermal damage nor of stimulation, flow through the tissue where the device is implanted. Moreover, experimental evidence is provided by an in vivo proof of concept model consisting of an anesthetized earthworm in which a commercial diode was implanted. With currently available microelectronic techniques, very thin stimulation capsules (diameter <500 µm) deliverable by injection are easily conceivable.