Design of electrical adaptive stimulators for different pathological contexts : a global approach

Abstract : Electrical stimulation of neural tissues is a widely used technique for both neuroscience explorations and innovative medical devices. This work is a contribution to the design of electrical stimulation circuits and systems. Stimulators are part of the experimental setup in several multi-disciplinary projects conducted at IMS (groupElibio), presented in this document : STN-Oscillations(French ANR 08-MNPS-036), studyingDeep Brain Stimulationmecha-nisms (DBS), HYRENE(French ANR 2010-Blan-031601), aimed at developing a hybrid system couplingartificial and biological neural networks to restore locomotion after spinal cord lesion, BRAINBOW(European Project FP7-ICT-2011-C), working on designing a neuro-prosthesis capable of restoring lost communication between neuronal circuits, CENAVEX(French ANR and American NSH AN13-NEUIC-0001-01), proposing a noveldesign for a closed-loop system for respiration control. This thesis integrates the specificities of each context and considers global therapeuticapplication issues, with the aim of proposing an original, global approach to designing thearchitecture of a multi-application stimulator.First, in order to evaluate the constraints related to ourin vivoandin vitrocontexts, anembedded stimulator for chronic DBS experiments in rodents was developed and successfullyimplantedin vivo. This design was optimized for power management during long-term experi-ments. The stimulator characteristics were assessed with behavioural tests on a rat population.Then a second, specific stimulator was designed usingField Programmable Analog Arraysforaccurate charge balancing, as well as to fulfil strong constraints to ensure tissue integrity. Theproposed charge-sensing architecture produced adaptive biphasic stimulation with sub-nanoampere DC-equivalent current.With a view to a global approach to stimulator design, an accurate model of the electrodeimpedance was built, to represent the concrete load of a stimulator. A measurement protocolbased on biphasic current-controlled solicitations and a modelling procedure relying on anoriginal fractional multi-model are described.The first step in this multi-application design approach was to investigate an electrical sizingscale effect. This involves electrode geometry, the number of channels per application, and theimplied current levels. A proof-of-concept ASIC was designed and successfully tested. A boardfor adaptive stimulation was then able to be deployed in the ongoing research projects.Finally, a dedicated Figure of Merit is proposed for stimulation. This criterion takes energyefficiency and charge balancing into account to quantify the degree of optimization of a circuitor system. This Figure of Merit is a novel concept that facilitates rational optimization ofstimulation architectures.
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Florian Kölbl. Design of electrical adaptive stimulators for different pathological contexts : a global approach. Electronics. Université de Bordeaux, 2014. English. ⟨NNT : 2014BORD0253⟩. ⟨tel-01191392⟩

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