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Open AccessArticle

Study of the Carrier-Aided Thin Film Electrode Array Design for Cochlear Insertion

1
State Key Laboratory of Precision Measurement Technology and Instrument, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100083, China
2
Department of Precision Instrument, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100083, China
3
Beijing Laboratory for Biomedical Detection Technology and Instrument, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100083, China
4
Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery and Center for Hearing Research, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Micromachines 2018, 9(5), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9050206
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 9 April 2018 / Accepted: 20 April 2018 / Published: 27 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Based MEMS and Microfabrication)
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Abstract

The micro-fabricated thin film electrode array (TFEA) has been a promising design for cochlear implants (CIs) because of its cost-effectiveness and fabrication precision. The latest polymer-based cochlear TFEAs have faced difficulties for cochlear insertion due to the lack of structural stiffness. To stiffen the TFEA, dissolvable stiffening materials, TFEAs with different structures, and TFEAs with commercial CIs as carriers have been invested. In this work, the concept of enhancing a Parylene TFEA with Kapton tape as a simpler carrier for cochlear insertion has been proved to be feasible. The bending stiffness of the Kapton-aided TFEA was characterized with an analytical model, a finite element model, and a cantilever bending experiment, respectively. While the Kapton tape increased the bending stiffness of the Parylene TFEA by 103 times, the 6-μm-thick TFEA with a similar Young’s modulus, as a polyimide, in turn significantly increased the bending stiffness of the 170-μm-thick Kapton carrier by 60%. This result indicated that even the TFEA is ultra-flexible and that its bending stiffness should not be neglected in the design or selection of its carrier. View Full-Text
Keywords: cochlear implant; thin film electrode array; Parylene; carrier-aided insertion cochlear implant; thin film electrode array; Parylene; carrier-aided insertion
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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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Xu, Y.; Luo, C.; Zeng, F.-G.; Middlebrooks, J.C.; Lin, H.W.; You, Z. Study of the Carrier-Aided Thin Film Electrode Array Design for Cochlear Insertion. Micromachines 2018, 9, 206.

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