April 2010
Volume 51, Issue 13
Free
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   April 2010
A Microfabricated Subretinal Electrode Array With an Integrated a-SiC Barrier
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • M. D. Gingerich
    Boston VAMC, Ctr for Innovative Visual Rehab, Boston, Massachusetts
    Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
  • D. B. Shire
    Boston VAMC, Ctr for Innovative Visual Rehab, Boston, Massachusetts
    Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
  • S. F. Cogan
    EIC Laboratories, Norwood, Massachusetts
  • T. Plante
    EIC Laboratories, Norwood, Massachusetts
  • J. L. Wyatt
    Elect Eng, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • J. F. Rizzo
    Boston VAMC, Ctr for Innovative Visual Rehab, Boston, Massachusetts
    Ophthalmology, Mass Eye & Ear Infirmary, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  M.D. Gingerich, None; D.B. Shire, None; S.F. Cogan, EIC Laboratories, E; T. Plante, EIC Laboratories, E; J.L. Wyatt, None; J.F. Rizzo, None.
  • Footnotes
    Support  Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, RR & D Service, Cornell Nanoscale Science and Technology Facility
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science April 2010, Vol.51, 3040. doi:
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      M. D. Gingerich, D. B. Shire, S. F. Cogan, T. Plante, J. L. Wyatt, J. F. Rizzo; A Microfabricated Subretinal Electrode Array With an Integrated a-SiC Barrier. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):3040.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Purpose: : This work is related to the efforts of the Boston Retinal Implant Project to develop a subretinal prosthesis to restore vision to the blind. The specific purpose of this presentation is to describe our efforts to increase the projected lifetime of our polyimide-based microfabricated electrode arrays by integrating an amorphous-silicon carbide (a-SiC) barrier around the signal conductors.

Methods: : A base polyimide layer was spin-coated and cured on a Si substrate. A layer of a-SiC was deposited by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) followed by the evaporation deposition of a patterned conductor metal stack (Ti/Au/Ti). A second a-SiC layer was deposited over the metal, pad/site openings were dry-etched through the a-SiC to the metal by reactive ion etching (RIE) and the device outline was dry etched through the top and bottom a-SiC layers. A final layer of polyimide was spin-coated over the top, pad/site openings were dry-etched through the polyimide to the metal by RIE, sputtered iridium oxide film (SIROF) electrode sites were patterned, and the arrays were singulated by dry-etching through the full polyimide thickness outside the a-SiC extent. The completed arrays were removed from the carrier substrate. Sample electrode arrays with and without the integrated a-SiC barrier were subjected to accelerated soak testing in an inorganic interstitial fluid (model-ISF). The performance of the SIROF electrodes on arrays with a-SiC was electrochemically evaluated.

Results: : A set of microfabrication processes was successfully engineered to integrate an a-SiC barrier around the signal conductors in a polyimide-based electrode array microfabrication process. The resulting arrays were found to withstand soaking in model-ISF at 87oC for 20 weeks within which time the arrays without a-SiC failed. The in vitro characterization of the SIROF electrodes demonstrated that the performance compared favorably with results previously reported for electrode arrays without a-SiC.

Conclusions: : A means of fabricating a flexible polyimide-based electrode array with an a-SiC barrier has been developed. The technology was shown to significantly increase the life expectancy of the polyimide-based electrode arrays while maintaining excellent SIROF electrode performance. This microfabrication technology may provide the basis for future in vivo components of the Boston retinal prosthesis.

Keywords: retina • age-related macular degeneration • retinal degenerations: hereditary 
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