Silicon-Integrated High-Density Electrocortical Interfaces
Recent demand and initiatives in brain research have driven significant interest toward developing chronically implantable neural interface systems with high spatiotemporal resolution and spatial coverage extending to the whole brain. Electroencephalography-based systems are noninvasive and cost efficient in monitoring neural activity across the brain, but suffer from fundamental limitations in spatiotemporal resolution. On the other hand, neural spike and local field potential (LFP) monitoring with penetrating electrodes offer higher resolution, but are highly invasive and inadequate for long-term use in humans due to unreliability in long-term data recording and risk for infection and inflammation. Alternatively, electrocorticography (ECoG) promises a minimally invasive, chronically implantable neural interface with resolution and spatial coverage capabilities that, with future technology scaling, may meet the needs of recently proposed brain initiatives. In this paper, we discuss the challenges and state-of-the-art technologies that are enabling next-generation fully implantable high-density ECoG interfaces, including details on electrodes, data acquisition frontends, stimulation drivers, and circuits and antennas for wireless communications and power delivery. Along with state-of-the-art implantable ECoG interface systems, we introduce a modular ECoG system concept based on a fully encapsulated neural interfacing acquisition chip (ENIAC). Multiple ENIACs can be placed across the cortical surface, enabling dense coverage over wide area with high spatiotemporal resolution. The circuit and system level details of ENIAC are presented, along with measurement results.