Theses Doctoral

Micron-scale monolithically-integrated ultrasonic wireless sensing motes for physiological monitoring

Shi, Chen

There has been increasing interest in emerging implantable medical devices (IMDs) for continuous in vivo sensing of physiological signals, including temperature, PH, pressure, oxygen, and glucose, directly at the target locations. Many of these applications can benefit from wireless, miniaturized IMDs that eliminate the percutaneous power cords and facilitate the implantation procedures.

This thesis describes such a device for real-time in vivo monitoring of physiological temperature, such as the monitoring of core body temperature and temperature evaluation during thermal-related therapeutic procedures. Featuring a custom temperature sensor chip with a micron-scale piezoelectric transducer fabricated on top of the chip, the monolithic device, in the form of a mote, measures only 380 μm × 300 μm × 570 μm and weighs only 0.3 mg. The device utilizes ultrasound for wireless powering and communication through the on-chip transducer and achieves aggressive miniaturization through “chip-as-system” integration. The proposed motes were successfully validated in both in vitro experiments with animal tissues and in vivo settings with a mouse model. Compared to the state-of-the-art and equivalent commercial devices, the motes performed comparably or better in a fully-wireless manner while presenting a more compact form factor.

Such extreme miniaturization through monolithic integration enables multiple of these motes to be implanted/injected using minimally invasive surgeries with improved biocompatibility and reduced subject discomfort. This offers new approaches for localized in vivo monitoring of spatially-fine-grained temperature distributions and also provides a platform for sensing other types of physiological parameters.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Electrical Engineering
Thesis Advisors
Shepard, Kenneth L.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 27, 2020