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J Neural Eng. 2016 Aug;13(4):046016. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/13/4/046016. Epub 2016 Jun 21.

SiC protective coating for photovoltaic retinal prosthesis.

Author information

1
Department of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate plasma-enhanced, chemically vapor deposited (PECVD) amorphous silicon carbide (α-SiC:H) as a protective coating for retinal prostheses and other implantable devices, and to study their failure mechanisms in vivo.

APPROACH:

Retinal prostheses were implanted in rats sub-retinally for up to 1 year. Degradation of implants was characterized by optical and scanning electron microscopy. Dissolution rates of SiC, SiN x and thermal SiO2 were measured in accelerated soaking tests in saline at 87 °C. Defects in SiC films were revealed and analyzed by selectively removing the materials underneath those defects.

MAIN RESULTS:

At 87 °C SiN x dissolved at 18.3 ± 0.3 nm d(-1), while SiO2 grown at high temperature (1000 °C) dissolved at 0.104 ± 0.008 nm d(-1). SiC films demonstrated the best stability, with no quantifiable change after 112 d. Defects in thin SiC films appeared primarily over complicated topography and rough surfaces.

SIGNIFICANCE:

SiC coatings demonstrating no erosion in accelerated aging test for 112 d at 87 °C, equivalent to about 10 years in vivo, can offer effective protection of the implants. Photovoltaic retinal prostheses with PECVD SiC coatings exhibited effective protection from erosion during the 4 month follow-up in vivo. The optimal thickness of SiC layers is about 560 nm, as defined by anti-reflective properties and by sufficient coverage to eliminate defects.

PMID:
27323882
PMCID:
PMC4967360
DOI:
10.1088/1741-2560/13/4/046016
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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