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Micromachines 2017, 8(10), 311; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi8100311

Spiral-Shaped Piezoelectric MEMS Cantilever Array for Fully Implantable Hearing Systems

1
Institute for Technical Physics and Materials Science, MTA EK, 1121 Konkoly Thege M. út 29-33, H-1121 Budapest, Hungary
2
Doctoral School on Material Sciences and Technologies, Óbuda University, Bécsi út 96/b, H-1034 Budapest, Hungary
3
Institute of Sensor and Actuator Systems, TU Wien, 1040 Vienna, Austria
4
Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Clinical Center, University of Pécs, H-7601 Pécs, Hungary
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 September 2017 / Revised: 30 September 2017 / Accepted: 12 October 2017 / Published: 18 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Piezoelectric MEMS)
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Abstract

Fully implantable, self-powered hearing aids with no external unit could significantly increase the life quality of patients suffering severe hearing loss. This highly demanding concept, however, requires a strongly miniaturized device which is fully implantable in the middle/inner ear and includes the following components: frequency selective microphone or accelerometer, energy harvesting device, speech processor, and cochlear multielectrode. Here we demonstrate a low volume, piezoelectric micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) cantilever array which is sensitive, even in the lower part of the voice frequency range (300–700 Hz). The test array consisting of 16 cantilevers has been fabricated by standard bulk micromachining using a Si-on-Insulator (SOI) wafer and aluminum nitride (AlN) as a complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) and biocompatible piezoelectric material. The low frequency and low device footprint are ensured by Archimedean spiral geometry and Si seismic mass. Experimentally detected resonance frequencies were validated by an analytical model. The generated open circuit voltage (3–10 mV) is sufficient for the direct analog conversion of the signals for cochlear multielectrode implants. View Full-Text
Keywords: artificial basilar membrane; cochlear implant; frequency selectivity; Archimedean spiral; aluminum nitride (AlN); piezoelectric cantilever; micro-electromechanical system (MEMS); finite element analysis; energy harvesting artificial basilar membrane; cochlear implant; frequency selectivity; Archimedean spiral; aluminum nitride (AlN); piezoelectric cantilever; micro-electromechanical system (MEMS); finite element analysis; energy harvesting
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Udvardi, P.; Radó, J.; Straszner, A.; Ferencz, J.; Hajnal, Z.; Soleimani, S.; Schneider, M.; Schmid, U.; Révész, P.; Volk, J. Spiral-Shaped Piezoelectric MEMS Cantilever Array for Fully Implantable Hearing Systems. Micromachines 2017, 8, 311.

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