A Miniaturized, Eye-Conformable, and Long-Term Reliable Retinal Prosthesis Using Monolithic Fabrication of Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP)

A novel retinal prosthetic device was developed using biocompatible liquid crystal polymer (LCP) to address the problems associated with conventional metal- and polymer-based devices: the hermetic metal package is bulky, heavy, and labor-intensive, whereas a thin, flexible, and MEMS-compatible polymer-based system is not durable enough for chronic implantation. Exploiting the advantageous properties of LCP such as a low moisture absorption rate, thermobonding, and thermoforming, we fabricate a small, light-weight, long-term reliable retinal prosthesis that can be conformally attached on the eye-surface.

A LCP fabrication process using monolithic integration and conformal deformation was established enabling miniaturization and a batch manufacturing process as well as eliminating the need for feed-through technology. The functionality of the fabricated device was tested through wireless operation in saline solution. Its efficacy and implantation stability were verified through in vivo animal tests by measuring the cortical potential and monitoring implanted dummy devices for more than a year, respectively.

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