Description of field of research

Electronic implants for the peripheral nervous system (PNS) have successfully restored sensory and motor functions and are viable therapeutics for epilepsy and depression. But current devices have many shortcomings. We will develop mm-scale, wireless, and soft neurotechnology, capable of concurrent stimulation and recording in the PNS. Our devices will enable bidirectional neural interfacing with improved performance, stability, and reduced invasiveness.

This project will help to develop mm-scale power harvesters of acoustic energy, delivered via ultrasound transducers. The energy collected will be used to power wireless, miniature neural implants placed deep inside the body. As an extension the acoustic interface could be augmented for communication, via backscatter echoes. We foresee this medical technology to drastically reduce invasiveness, by shrinking implant geometry from conventional cm-length-scale to mm-length-scale. Simultaneously it will enable efficient wireless power / data transfer over centimetres of body tissue, as opposed to the few-mm limit of traditional inductive power transfer methods, thereby enabling new classes of medical implants capable of operating deep within the body.

This project will involve laser-fabrication and benchtop testing of piezoelectric ceramics. Therefore, you should be very competent with analog circuit testing processes. We will train you on high-power laser fab.

Research Area

Brain machine interface | Neural engineering

You will work with a team of leading neural engineering researchers at the Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, using cutting edge techniques, such as machine learning, high performance computing clusters and cloud computing. Depending on progress, we may even test the results in biological experiments.

You will help to develop small piezoelectric energy harvester for implantable devices. You will gain hands on experience in (1) laser microfabrication, (2) analog electrical characterization using oscilloscopes, arbitrary waveform generator and VNAs, (3) optical microscopy, (4) ultrasonics.