(1) Background: In this study, we introduce a manufacturable 32-channel cochlear electrode array. In contrast to conventional cochlear electrode arrays manufactured by manual processes that consist of electrode-wire welding, the placement of each electrode, and silicone molding over wired structures, the proposed cochlear electrode array is manufactured by semi-automated laser micro-structuring and a mass-produced layer-by-layer silicone deposition scheme similar to the semiconductor fabrication process. (2) Methods: The proposed 32-channel electrode array has 32 electrode contacts with a length of 24 mm and 0.75 mm spacing between contacts. The width of the electrode array is 0.45 mm at its apex and 0.8 mm at its base, and it has a three-layered arrangement consisting of a 32-channel electrode layer and two 16-lead wire layers. To assess its feasibility, we conducted an electrochemical evaluation, stiffness measurements, and insertion force measurements. (3) Results: The electrochemical impedance and charge storage capacity are 3.11 ± 0.89 kOhm at 1 kHz and 5.09 mC/cm
, respectively. The V/H ratio, which indicates how large the vertical stiffness is compared to the horizontal stiffness, is 1.26. The insertion force is 17.4 mN at 8 mm from the round window, and the maximum extraction force is 61.4 mN. (4) Conclusions: The results of the preliminary feasibility assessment of the proposed 32-channel cochlear electrode array are presented. After further assessments are performed, a 32-channel cochlear implant system consisting of the proposed 32-channel electrode array, 32-channel neural stimulation and recording IC, titanium-based hermetic package, and sound processor with wireless power and signal transmission coil will be completed.
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