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Supplying Power for Implantable Biosensors. Introduction to Biosensors 16.441, 16.541 Group Members: Sujith Kana Jesse Vengren. Abstract. Powering implantable biosensors is difficult. Do not what to limit the subjects movement or impede them in anyway. Want the power supply to last

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supplying power for implantable biosensors

Supplying Power for Implantable Biosensors

Introduction to Biosensors

16.441, 16.541

Group Members:

Sujith Kana

Jesse Vengren

  • Powering implantable biosensors is difficult.
  • Do not what to limit the subjects movement or impede them in anyway.
  • Want the power supply to last
  • Do not to want to constantly replacing them
  • Want it to be minimally invasive
  • Miniaturization is critical
  • Biosensors thou are fad in the current decade, they have been there since early 1970’s.
  • Powering up the biosensor was a challenge even in 1970’s
  • Earliest application was pace maker
  • Mercury-Zinc was powering the pacemaker
  • Nuclear fueled cells considered as an option!
energy harvesting
Energy Harvesting
  • Gathering energy from environment the device is in
  • Many different energy harvesting techniques: wind, solar, kinetic, thermal
  • Not every one is appropriate for implantable biosensors
kinetic energy
Kinetic Energy
  • Using the motion of the body to generate power.
  • Three types: Electromagnetic, Electrostatic, and Piezoelectric


  • Uses the change in magnetic flux to create power
  • Generated by moving a coil through a magnetic field
  • Same Method used in watches
kinetic energy continued
Kinetic Energy Continued…


  • Uses variable capacitors
  • Changes in the distance between the plates to change either current or voltage


  • By deforming piezoelectric material you can generate a voltage
  • Easy to create mechanical deformation
issues with kinetic energy
Issues with Kinetic Energy
  • Moving parts wear out
  • Electrostatic requires preexisting Charge
  • For Piezoelectric need to be able to cause mechanical deformation
thermal energy
Thermal Energy
  • Uses temperature difference to create voltage
  • Seebeck Effect: Voltage is generated due to a difference in temperature between two junctions of dissimilar metals
  • Many thermocouples in series to create thermopile
issues with thermal energy
Issues with Thermal Energy
  • Small change in temperature
  • A single thermocouple does not generate much energy
  • Size becomes and issue.
acoustic power
Acoustic Power
  • Application of piezoelectric kinetic energy
  • Power by acoustic waves
  • Waves generated outside the body transmit power to implanted device
  • Antenna similar to speaker cone receives acoustic wave and deforms piezoelectric material
fuel cell
Fuel Cell
  • Sir William Grove found it in 1839
  • On chip power for microelectronics
  • Traditional Fuel cells vs Biological Fuel Cells
  • Powered by Sacccharomyces Cerevisiae
issues of biological fuel cells
Issues of Biological fuel cells
  • Micro watts of power generation
  • Performance over time
  • Environmental conditions
  • Electrochemical contact of the micro-organism
  • Cost
rf power
RF Power
  • Amplifier
  • Inductive Coupling
  • Rectifier
  • DC Regulator

Figure 1: Simplified RF Powering System (ref 1)

issues of rf power
Issues of RF power
  • Changes in coupling coefficient
  • Confined to lab
  • Heating of tissues
  • Dependence on patient compliance
  • Possible RF interference
work cited
Work Cited
  • Victor Parsonnet, M.D. “Power Sources for Implantable Cardiac
  • Pacemakers*” Chest American College of Chest Physicians 1972
  • Nattapon Chaimanonart, Keith R. Olszens, Mark D. Zimmerman, Wen H. Ko, and Darrin J. Young, “ Implantable RF Power Converter for Small Animal In Vivo Biological Monitoring” Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology 27th Annual Conference Shanghai, China, September 1-4, 2005
  • Chaimanonart, W. H. Ko, D. J. Young, “Remote RF Powering System for MEMS Strain Sensors,” Technical Digest of The Third IEEE International Conference on Sensors, pp. 1522 –1525, October2004
  • Bhatia D, Bairagi S, Goel S, Jangra M. Pacemakers charging using body energy. J Pharm Bioall Sci 2010;2:51-4
  • Charles W. Walker, Jr. and Alyssa L. Walker, “Biological Fuel Cell Functional as an Active or Reserve Power Source” , ARL-TR-3840 Army Research Lab
  • Jonathan Lueke and Walied A. Moussa, “MEMS-Based Power Generation Techniques for Implantable Biosensing Applications ” Sensors 2011, 11, 1433-1460;
  • Kerzenmacher, S.; Ducree, J.; Zengerle, R.; von Stetten, F. Energy Harvesting by Implantable Abiotically Catalyzed Glucose Fuel Cells. J. Power Source. 2008, 182, 1-17.
  • Rao, J.R. Boelectrochemistry. I. Biological Redox Reactions; Milazzo, G., Black, M., Eds.; Plenum Press: New York, NY, USA, 1983; pp. 283-355.
  • Mano, N.; Mao, F.; Heller, A. Characteristics of a Miniature Compartment-less Glucose-O2 Biofuel Cell and Its Operation in a Living Plant. J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 2003, 125, 6588-6594.
  • Kuhn, M.; Napporn, T.; Meunier, M.; Therriault, D.; Vengallatore, S. Fabrication and Testing of Coplanar Single-Chamber Micro Solid Oxide Fuel Cells with Geometrically Complex Electrodes. J. Power Source. 2008, 177, 148-153.
  • Olivo, Jacopo, Sandro Carrara, and Giovanni De Micheli. "Energy Harvesting and Remote Powering for Implantable Biosensors - Infoscience." Home - Infoscience. Web. 04 March. 2011.
  • Shih, Po-Jen, and Wen-Pin Shih. "Design, Fabrication, and Application of Bio-Implantable Acoustic Power Transmission." IEEEXplore. Web. 4 Mar. 2011.
  • Walker, Charles W., and Alyssa L. Walker. "Biological Fuel Cell Functional as an Active or Reserve Power Source." Web. 4 Mar. 2011. <>.
  • N. G. Elvin, A. A. Elvin, and M. Spector, “A self-powered mechanical strain energy sensor,” Smart Mater. Struct., vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 293–299, Apr. 2001.
  • M. Umeda, K. Nakamura, and S. Ueha, “Energy storage characteristics of a piezo generator using impact induced vibration,” Jpn. J. Appl. Phys., vol. 36, pt. 1, no. 5B, pp. 3146–3151, May 1997.
  • Beeby, S. P., Torah Tudor, and M.J. Tudor. "Kinetic Energy Harvesting." Yahoo! Search - Web Search. Web. 04 Apr. 2011. <>.