Home Medizin Implantate der nächsten Generation könnten mit der Dual-Energy-Harvesting-Technologie betrieben werden

Implantate der nächsten Generation könnten mit der Dual-Energy-Harvesting-Technologie betrieben werden

von NFI Redaktion

Implantable biomedical devices, such as pacemakers, insulin pumps, and neurostimulators, are becoming smaller and using wireless technology but face challenges in powering the next generation of implants. A new wireless charger developed by scientists at Penn State University could significantly improve the power supply capability of implants while being safe for our bodies, the researchers said.

This new device can simultaneously harvest energy from magnetic field and ultrasound sources and convert this energy into electricity to power implants, as reported by the scientists in the journal Energy & Environmental Science. It is the first device to utilize these dual energy sources simultaneously with high efficiency and operate within safe limits for human tissue, the team said.

Our device could open up next-generation biomedical applications as it can generate power up to 300% higher than current state-of-the-art devices. By combining two energy sources in a single generator, the power output from a given volume of the device could be significantly enhanced, enabling many applications that were previously not possible.“

– Bed Poudel, Research Professor at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Penn State University

With this technology, battery-less bioelectronic devices could be miniaturized to millimeter-scale dimensions, making them easily implantable and enabling distributed networks of sensors and actuators to measure and manipulate physiological activities throughout the body. This, according to the researchers, could enable precise and adaptive bioelectronic therapies with minimal risks or disruptions to daily activities.

Traditional implants like pacemakers are usually powered by batteries and recharged via cables. However, the lifespan of batteries is limited, and their replacement may require surgical intervention, posing the risk of infection or other medical complications.

Wireless charging or direct powering of implants could extend their lifespan, the scientists said. However, conventional wireless charging technology for mobile phones and electric vehicles may not be ideal as implants continue to shrink in size.

„The issue is that wireless charging efficiency decreases significantly when making these implants less invasive by making them smaller,“ said Mehdi Kiani, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Penn State and co-author of the study. „To solve this problem, power needs to be increased. However, the challenge is that high-frequency electromagnetic waves can be harmful to the body.“

According to the researchers, magnetic fields and ultrasound energy operating at lower frequencies are attractive options for wirelessly powering or charging implants. Previous work by other scientists focused on developing devices that can utilize one of these energy sources but not simultaneously, the scientists said. However, this single-source approach may not provide enough power to recharge smaller future medical implants.

„Now we can combine two modalities in a single receiver,“ said Sumanta Kumar Karan, Postdoctoral Scholar at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Penn State and lead author of the study. „This could outperform each of the individual modalities because we now have two energy sources. We can increase the power by a factor of four, which is really significant.“

The devices use a two-stage process to convert magnetic field energy into electricity. One layer is magnetostrictive, converting a magnetic field into voltage, and the other is piezoelectric, converting voltage or vibrations into an electric field. By combining them, the device can convert a magnetic field into electrical current.

And the piezoelectric layer can also simultaneously convert ultrasound energy into electrical current, the researchers said.

„We have merged these energy sources on the same area and can generate enough power to perform the tasks demanded by next-generation implants,“ said Poudel. „And we can do so without damaging tissue.“

The technology also has implications for powering things like wireless sensor networks in smart buildings. These networks monitor energy and operation patterns and use that information to remotely adjust control systems, the scientists said.

Other contributing researchers from Penn State included Andrew Patterson, Professor in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences; Anitha Vijay, Research Technologist; and Sujay Hosur, doctoral student. Kai Wang and Rammohan Sriramdas, former Research Assistant Professors at Penn State, and Shashank Priya, Vice President for Research at the University of Minnesota and former professor at Penn State, also contributed.

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation. Some of the researchers in this study received support from the DARPA MATRIX program and the Army RIF program.


Journal Reference:

Karan, SK, et al. (2024). Simultaneous wireless energy harvesting induced by magnetic field and ultrasound. Energy & Environmental Science. doi.org/10.1039/d3ee03889k

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