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Neural Electronic Interfaces
Retinal Prosthesis
A Nano-Channel Glass Electrode Array

Overview  | Movies  | Posters  | Publications

The interface between biologic and electronic structures offers a number of exciting potential applications such as visual, auditory and motor prostheses, chemical and biologic sensors, and novel bioinformatic assays.

Project schematic
Project schematic

The Retinal Prosthesis Project demonstrates a interesting application of an advanced neural electronic interface using Nano-Channel Glass technology.

Nano-channel Glass is a thin (<1mm) wafer of glass with a hexagonal array of channels perforating it. The channels can be filled with metal "wires" by electroplating. The finished electrode can have flat side and a curved side with metal wires protruding.

Wafer of nano-channel glass 600nm channels
Wafer of nano-channel glass 600nm channels

For the Retinal Prosthesis Project the channel glass/wire electrode is hybridized (with indium bump bonds) to a de-multiplexer current pulse generating silicon chip. The channel glass acts as a low-impedance bridge between the flat chip and the curved retina.

Current pulse de-multiplexer chip
Current pulse de-multiplexer chip

The hope of restoring vision to the blind is now believed to be a real possibility using neural prosthetics. There is a growing interest in the development of a retinal prosthesis device based on a number of recent experiments demonstrating human perception of electrical stimulation of retinal tissue with single electrodes. An intraocular retinal prosthesis test device is currently under development at NRL. The microelectronic device has an image format of 80 x 40 unit cells interfaced to the retinal surface via an array of microwires in a glass matrix. The system architecture and technology development issues are discussed in this website as well as the issue of retinal tissue response. This test device will enable acute human experiments in an operating room environment to demonstrate a massively parallel interface between retinal tissue and a microelectronic array.

Principal Investigator

Dean Scribner
Naval Research Laboratory
Sciences Division
Washington, DC 20375-5000

Project Funding

Program Manager: Alan Ruldolph, DARPA TBB and CBBS Programs

Executing Agent: Joel Davis, Office of Naval Research


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