Single Supply PWM Fully Implantable Cochlear Implant Interface Circuit with Active Charge Balancing

Yigit H. A. , Ulusan H. , Koc M. , YÜKSEL M. B. , Chamanian S., KÜLAH H.

IEEE Access, vol.9, pp.52642-52653, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 9
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1109/access.2021.3070107
  • Title of Journal : IEEE Access
  • Page Numbers: pp.52642-52653
  • Keywords: Charge balanced neural stimulation, fully implantable cochlear implant, low power electronics, MICROPHONE


© 2013 IEEE.Low powered fully implantable cochlear implants (FICIs) untangle the aesthetic concerns and battery replacement problems of conventional cochlear implants. However, the reported FICIs lack proper charge balancing and require multiple external supplies to operate. In this work, a complete low power FICI interface circuit is designed that operates with a single supply and uses short-pulse-injection method for charge balancing. The system takes input from multi-channel piezoelectric transducers and stimulates the auditory neurons with pulse width modulated (PWM) output currents. By utilizing pulse width modulation technique with continuous interleaved sampling (CIS) sound processing strategy, a time gap is formed between two consecutive channels. Then, this gap is used for charge balancing operation. Overall power consumption of the low power FICI interface is decreased by clocked gated subthreshold amplifier and rectifier design. Furthermore, power efficient design of analog to digital converter (ADC) enhances the power reduction. The system is tested with an in-vitro test setup and it stimulates a single channel cochlear electrode with 50 dB input dynamic range while consuming $695~\mu \text{W}$ power from a single 1.8 V supply. The implemented FICI system can safely stimulate neurons for more than 18 days (with 16-hour daily operation) with an implantable 200 mWh battery without recharging. Furthermore, the short charge balance current pulses keep the electrode voltage difference after the stimulation within ±100 mV range, which ensures the residual charge is not hazardous for the auditory neurons.