A low-profile electromechanical packaging system for soft-to-flexible bioelectronic interfacesFlorian Fallegger, Alix Trouillet, Florent-Valéry Coen, Giuseppe Schiavone, Stéphanie P. Lacour
- Biomedical Engineering
Interfacing the human body with the next generation of electronics requires technological advancement in designing and producing bioelectronic circuits. These circuits must integrate electrical functionality while simultaneously addressing limitations in mechanical compliance and dynamics, biocompatibility, and consistent, scalable manufacturing. The combination of mechanically disparate materials ranging from elastomers to inorganic crystalline semiconductors calls for modular designs with reliable and scalable electromechanical connectors. Here, we report on a novel interconnection solution for soft-to-flexible bioelectronic interfaces using a patterned and machined flexible printed circuit board, which we term FlexComb, interfaced with soft transducing systems. Using a simple assembly process, arrays of protruding “fingers” bearing individual electrical terminals are laser-machined on a standard flexible printed circuit board to create a comb-like structure, namely, the FlexComb. A matching pattern is also machined in the soft system to host and interlock electromechanically the FlexComb connections via a soft electrically conducting composite. We examine the electrical and electromechanical properties of the interconnection and demonstrate the versatility and scalability of the method through various customized submillimetric designs. In a pilot in vivo study, we validate the stability and compatibility of the FlexComb technology in a subdural electrocorticography system implanted for 6 months on the auditory cortex of a minipig. The FlexComb provides a reliable and simple technique to bond and connect soft transducing systems with flexible or rigid electronic boards, which should find many implementations in soft robotics and wearable and implantable bioelectronics.