The PI will design flexible porous polymer film power generators that convert cardiac motion into electricity to recharge implantable devices

Nontechnical Abstract

Energy consumption and battery replacement are among the most challenging problems with permanently implanted biomedical devices. This research addresses the fundamental issues related to the creation of robust, scalable, energy-relevant nanomaterials and implantable microsystems that work with the extraordinary effectiveness of biomechanical motion and processes of the human heart. The potential benefits of the research in advancing the field include the development of a broad class of tunable nanomaterials networks to tailor energy conversion characteristics at the level of a single layer of nanomaterials, with potential translational applications in energy efficient biochips for diagnostic sensing, biomarker identification, and therapeutic drug delivery. Life scientists, engineering researchers, graduate and undergraduate students will be trained in key emerging areas of biomedical engineering.

Technical Abstract

The objective of this project is to lay the foundation for constructing and evaluating different highly flexible and conformable multilayered piezoelectric polymer devices for converting the mechanical displacement of the heart into electrical energy. While the longevity of an average implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICD) patient with congestive heart failure has increased to 10 years after implantation, the battery for an automatic implantable cardiac defibrillators (AICD) needs to be replaced typically every 4-5 years depending on the degree of pacing and/or occurrence of defibrillation. This mismatch poses a significant and ever growing clinical and economic burden since replacing the battery requires a surgery. An innovative solution to increase AICD battery lifetimes is to harness the robust energy of the heart and convert it to electrical power. The hypothesis of this proposal is that flexible and conformable poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) polymer films containing mesoporous structures at both surfaces and throughout the bulk can be embedded inside the current dead spaces of the AICD leads to convert the mechanical motion of the heart into electrical energy by exploiting the piezoelectricity of PVDF. The research methods include: 1. Design flexible micro-power generators made of porous PVDF layers that can be interfaced with current AICD lead technology; 2. Develop computational model of cardiac power generation devices based on 3D RV heart motion to allow for optimal design and power efficiency; 3. In vitro quantification of mechano-electrical coupling of the power generator presents to an AICD lead.

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Dartmouth College
United States
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