We have developed and applied new methods to estimate the functional life of miniature, implantable, wireless electronic devices that rely on non-hermetic, adhesive encapsulants such as epoxy. A comb pattern board with a high density of interdigitated electrodes (IDE) could be used to detect incipient failure from water vapor condensation. Inductive coupling of an RF magnetic field was used to provide DC bias and to detect deterioration of an encapsulated comb pattern. Diodes in the implant converted part of the received energy into DC bias on the comb pattern. The capacitance of the comb pattern forms a resonant circuit with the inductor by which the implant receives power. Any moisture affects both the resonant frequency and the Q-factor of the resonance of the circuitry, which was detected wirelessly by its effects on the coupling between two orthogonal RF coils placed around the device. Various defects were introduced into the comb pattern devices to demonstrate sensitivity to failures and to correlate these signals with visual inspection of failures. Optimized encapsulation procedures were validated in accelerated life tests of both comb patterns and a functional neuromuscular stimulator under development. Strong adhesive bonding between epoxy and electronic circuitry proved to be necessary and sufficient to predict 1 year packaging reliability of 99.97% for the neuromuscular stimulator.
Biomedical Microdevices – Springer Journals
Published: May 24, 2017
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