Chronically implanted integrated circuits (ICs) can enable sophistication in implants beyond purely measurement, such as closed-loop modulation of physiology. However, the body is a corrosive and chemically aggressive environment in which ionic and reactive oxidative species can easily damage implanted microelectronics. Conventionally, implanted ICs are packaged in titanium or ceramic housing to reach decadal lifetime, but such packaging is not conducive to sub-millimeter scale miniaturization. Thin-film encapsulants such as parylene, SiO2, and SiC can greatly reduce the size of hermetically packaged devices, but decadal lifetimes of thin-film encapsulated ICs has not yet been demonstrated. Here, we aim to show that microns-thick SiC films can be used as a molecular barrier to enable implantable ICs with lifetimes on the order of decades. We anticipate that our process can enable implantable medical devices which can function for a significant portion of a patient’s lifetime. This would open the door to implantable microelectronic therapeutics which would otherwise be unattractive due to the low risk-to-reward ratio inherent due to surgical implantation.
Project end date: 08/10/20