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In Journal of neural engineering ; h5-index 52.0

OBJECTIVE : Connectors for implantable neural prosthetic systems provide several advantages such as simplification of surgery, safe replacement of implanted devices, and modular design of the implant systems. With the rapid advancement of technologies for neural implants, miniaturized multichannel implantable connectors are also required. In this study, we propose a reconnectable and area-efficient multichannel implantable connector.

METHODS : A female-to-female adapter was fabricated using the thermal-press bonding of micropatterned liquid crystal polymer (LCP) films. A bump inside the adapter enabled a reliable electrical connection by increasing the contact pressure between the contact pads of the adapter and the inserted cable. After connection, the adapter is enclosed in a metal case sealed with silicone elastomer packing. With different sizes of the packings, leakage current tests were performed under accelerated conditions to determine the optimal design for long-term reliability. Repeated connection tests were performed to verify the durability and reconnectability of the fabricated connector. The connector was implanted in rats, and the leakage currents were monitored to evaluate the stability of the connector in vivo.

RESULTS : The fabricated four- and eight-channel implantable connectors, assembled with the metal cases, had a diameter and length of 6 and 17 mm, respectively. Further, the contact resistances of the four- and eight-channel connectors were 53.2 and 75.2 mΩ, respectively. The electrical contact remained stable during repeated connection tests (50 times). The fabricated connectors with packings having 125%, 137%, and 150% volume ratios to the internal space of the metal case failed after 14, 88, and 14 days, respectively, in a 75°C saline environment. In animal tests with rats, the connector maintained low leakage current levels for up to 92 days.

CONCLUSION : An implantable and reconnectable multichannel connector was developed and evaluated. The feasibility of the proposed connector was evaluated in terms of electrical and mechanical characteristics as well as sealing performance. The proposed connector is expected to have potential applications in implantable neural prosthetic systems.

Choi Gwang Jin, Yoo Hyun Ji, Cho Yoon Kyung, Shim Shinyong, Yun Seunghyeon, Sung Jaehoon, Lim Yoonseob, Jun Sang Beom, Kim Sung June


implantable connector, liquid crystal polymer, neural implant