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Prof. Ko Receives an NIH Grant for Developing Micropackage Technology

Wen KoProf. Wen H. Ko in the EECS department has received a new NIH R21 grant.  This award will allow the team to explore and develop a non-hermetic, biocompatible micropackage technology for microfabricated wireless implantable devices or systems used in bio-medical research and clinical care.

The award is $400K for two years.  Prof. Ko has been on Case faculty since 1959, and Professor Emeritus since 1993.  He is a Life Fellow of both IEEE and AIMBE with numerous awards and achievements.  His collaborators on this NIH award include Prof. Chris Zorman and Prof. Philip Feng, both from the EECS department. 

Today, advances in integrated circuits, micro- and nano-electromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS), as well as thin film rechargeable batteries and other miniaturized devices, make it possible to realize the great potential of microfabricated implantable or surface-attached biomedical instruments for life science research and health care beyond what microelectronics alone could offer.  The volume and weight of these microsystems are reduced and the performance is enhanced over several orders of magnitude as compared with their macroscale counterparts of two decades ago.  However, a critical challenge, and thus a bottle neck to clinical implementation, is the lack of a suitable micropackage that is on the same size scale as these micro-systems.  The conventional hermetic box package used to protect microelectronics is too restrictive to meet the needs of present and next-generation implantable microsystems.   

Prof. Ko’s team aims to develop a novel, non-hermetic and highly miniaturized packaging technologies.  The volume and weight of these micropackages shall be as small as possible, with a total thickness of the conformal package layers being less than 0.5 mm and the added volume only ~20-80% of the original system before packaging (compared to ~10x or more volume increase in conventional hermetic packages).  The implant life time will be from a few months to a few years.  The turn round time and cost would also be greatly reduced.