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Silicone encapsulation of thin-film SiOₓ, SiOₓNy and SiC for modern electronic medical implants: a comparative long-term ageing study

Lamont, C; Grego, T; Nanbakhsh, K; Shah Idil, A; Giagka, V; Vanhoestenberghe, A; Cogan, S; (2021) Silicone encapsulation of thin-film SiOₓ, SiOₓNy and SiC for modern electronic medical implants: a comparative long-term ageing study. Journal of Neural Engineering 10.1088/1741-2552/abf0d6. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Objective. Ensuring the longevity of implantable devices is critical for their clinical usefulness. This is commonly achieved by hermetically sealing the sensitive electronics in a water impermeable housing, however, this method limits miniaturisation. Alternatively, silicone encapsulation has demonstrated long-term protection of implanted thick-film electronic devices. However, much of the current conformal packaging research is focused on more rigid coatings, such as parylene, liquid crystal polymers and novel inorganic layers. Here, we consider the potential of silicone to protect implants using thin-film technology with features 33 times smaller than thick-film counterparts. Approach. Aluminium interdigitated comb structures under plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposited passivation (SiOx, SiOxNy, SiOxNy + SiC) were encapsulated in medical grade silicones, with a total of six passivation/silicone combinations. Samples were aged in phosphate-buffered saline at 67‰ for up to 694 days under a continuous ±5 V biphasic waveform. Periodic electrochemical impedance spectroscopy measurements monitored for leakage currents and degradation of the metal traces. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, focused-ion-beam and scanning-electron- microscopy were employed to determine any encapsulation material changes. Main results. No silicone delamination, passivation dissolution, or metal corrosion was observed during ageing. Impedances greater than 100 G were maintained between the aluminium tracks for silicone encapsulation over SiOxNy and SiC passivations. For these samples the only observed failure mode was open-circuit wire bonds. In contrast, progressive hydration of the SiOx caused its resistance to decrease by an order of magnitude. Significance. These results demonstrate silicone encapsulation offers excellent protection to thin-film conducting tracks when combined with appropriate inorganic thin films. This conclusion corresponds to previous reliability studies of silicone encapsulation in aqueous environments, but with a larger sample size. Therefore, we believe silicone encapsulation to be a realistic means of providing long-term protection for the circuits of implanted electronic medical devices.

Type: Article
Title: Silicone encapsulation of thin-film SiOₓ, SiOₓNy and SiC for modern electronic medical implants: a comparative long-term ageing study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1088/1741-2552/abf0d6
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1741-2552/abf0d6
Language: English
Additional information: As the Version of Record of this article is going to be/has been published on a gold open access basis under a CC BY 3.0 licence, this Accepted Manuscript is available for reuse under a CC BY 3.0 licence immediately. Although reasonable endeavours have been taken to obtain all necessary permissions from third parties to include their copyrighted content within this article, their full citation and copyright line may not be present in this Accepted Manuscript version. Before using any content from this article, please refer to the Version of Record on IOPscience once published for full citation and copyright details, as permission may be required. All third party content is fully copyright protected, and is not published on a gold open access basis under a CC BY licence, unless that is specifically stated in the figure caption in the Version of Record.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci > Department of Ortho and MSK Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Med Phys and Biomedical Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10125428
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