A flexible polyimide cable for implantable neural probe arrays
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A flexible polyimide cable developed for implantable neural probe array application is presented. The flexible cable is used to connect two implantable platforms—one in direct touch with the brain containing a neural probe array and its interface IC, and the other on the skull including a wireless link IC, a coil and an antenna for power and data transfer through the transcutaneous link. The cable needs to be highly flexible to minimize post-insertion injury caused by the probe array in the presence of brain micro-motion. Polyimide is used to form a flexible substrate and an insulator layer of the cable. For the advanced neural recording system, a large amount of neural recording data has to be communicated between the two platforms through the flexible cable. High-rate data transmission performance of the fabricated flexible cable is characterized and discussed. The measured insertion loss (IL) of the flexible cable is less than 3 dB and the isolation between two adjacent interconnects is better than 17 dB up to 2 GHz. The data transmission through the flexible cable is verified to be highly reliable at 100 Mbps. For surgical manipulation and long term implantation of the neural probe microsystem, the flexible cable needs to have excellent mechanical strength and resistance to fatigue. The mechanical characteristics and fatigue strength of the flexible cable are also measured and discussed. The measured maximum tensile stress and strain of the flexible cable before failure are 251.2 ± 7.1 MPa (14.35 ± 0.3 N) and 4.16 ± 0.11 %, respectively. The Young’s modulus of the fabricated flexible cable is 8.21 GPa. From the fatigue strength testing, the measured resistance change of the flexible cable’s interconnect is less than 4.8 % after 250,000 cycles of cyclic mechanical stretch.
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