Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing

, Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 45–62 | Cite as

Implantable neurotechnologies: a review of integrated circuit neural amplifiers

  • Kian Ann Ng
  • Elliot Greenwald
  • Yong Ping Xu
  • Nitish V. Thakor
Review Article

Abstract

Neural signal recording is critical in modern day neuroscience research and emerging neural prosthesis programs. Neural recording requires the use of precise, low-noise amplifier systems to acquire and condition the weak neural signals that are transduced through electrode interfaces. Neural amplifiers and amplifier-based systems are available commercially or can be designed in-house and fabricated using integrated circuit (IC) technologies, resulting in very large-scale integration or application-specific integrated circuit solutions. IC-based neural amplifiers are now used to acquire untethered/portable neural recordings, as they meet the requirements of a miniaturized form factor, light weight and low power consumption. Furthermore, such miniaturized and low-power IC neural amplifiers are now being used in emerging implantable neural prosthesis technologies. This review focuses on neural amplifier-based devices and is presented in two interrelated parts. First, neural signal recording is reviewed, and practical challenges are highlighted. Current amplifier designs with increased functionality and performance and without penalties in chip size and power are featured. Second, applications of IC-based neural amplifiers in basic science experiments (e.g., cortical studies using animal models), neural prostheses (e.g., brain/nerve machine interfaces) and treatment of neuronal diseases (e.g., DBS for treatment of epilepsy) are highlighted. The review concludes with future outlooks of this technology and important challenges with regard to neural signal amplification.

Keywords

Neural recording amplifier Central nervous system Peripheral nervous system VLSI Integrated circuits 

Abbreviations

ADC

Analog-to-digital converter

ASK

Amplitude shift keying

CNS

Central nervous system

CMOS

Complementary metal oxide semiconductor

CMRR

Common mode rejection ratio

FET

Field effect transistor

FSK

Frequency shift keying

IC

Integrated circuit (chip)

IEEE

Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers

MOS

Metal oxide semiconductor

NEF

Noise efficiency factor

OTA

Operational transconductance amplifier

OpAmp

Operational amplifier

PEF

Power efficiency factor

PNS

Peripheral nervous system

RF

Radio frequency

UWB

Ultra wide band radio

VLSI

Very large scale integration

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Copyright information

© International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kian Ann Ng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Elliot Greenwald
    • 3
  • Yong Ping Xu
    • 2
  • Nitish V. Thakor
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Singapore Institute for Neurotechnology (SINAPSE)National University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical EngineeringJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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