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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONICS, VOL. 61, NO.

5, MAY 2014

2225

Wireless Power Transmission With Self-Regulated


Output Voltage for Biomedical Implant
Dukju Ahn and Songcheol Hong, Member, IEEE

AbstractThis paper presents a wireless power transfer (WPT)


system for powering implantable biomedical devices; the system
is configured to achieve high efficiency even with CMOS switches
and printed-circuit-board pattern coils and to maintain constant
output voltage against coupling and loading variations without
any additional blocks. It is shown that the parallel-resonant transmitter (TX) and receiver (RX) topology is advantageous for high
efficiency even with lossy but compact components. In addition,
the output voltage of the topology is insensitive to coupling and/or
loading variations if the operating frequency is automatically
adjusted according to coupling variations. A parallel-resonant
class-D oscillator TX is developed to track the optimum operating
frequency for the constant output voltage. The operating distance
for the constant output voltage is also extended using a novel
resonator structure, which contains two resonating coils. These
proposed schemes allow a compact, efficient, and robust wireless
power system. Maximum power of 174 mW can be transmitted
with 63% overall efficiency.
Index TermsBiomedical implant, CMOS transmitter (TX),
coupled resonator, inductive link, inductive power, voltage regulation, wireless power transfer (WPT).

I. I NTRODUCTION

MONG the applications of wireless power transmission


technology, wireless powering of implanted biomedical
devices is one of the most important subjects. [1][10]. The
primitive method of power supply for implanted devices was
to insert power cables through skin holes. However, such an
invasive method is subject to infections through the skin holes.
Therefore, implanted devices should be powered wirelessly to
avoid infection problems.
Fig. 1 illustrates the overall block diagram of a wireless
power system for biomedical implants. Since most of the circuits and systems require constant supply voltage for stable operation, the receiver (RX) load voltage should be stable over the
varying operating conditions. However, as the distance between
the outside parallel-resonant transmitter (TX) and the implanted
RX is varied, the transferred power will change accordingly.
Manuscript received July 10, 2012; revised February 27, 2013 and
April 25, 2013; accepted June 24, 2013. Date of publication July 16, 2013;
date of current version October 18, 2013. This work was supported by the
National Research Foundation of Korea under Grant 2005-2001282 funded by
the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning.
D. Ahn was with the Department of Electrical Engineering, Korea Advanced
Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon 305-701, Korea. He is now
with the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of
Technology, Atlanta, GA 30308 USA (e-mail: adjj22@gmail.com).
S. Hong is with the Department of Electrical Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon 305-701, Korea (e-mail:
schong@ee.kaist.ac.kr).
Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available online
at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TIE.2013.2273472

Fig. 1. Overall block diagram of wireless power system for biomedical


implants. A relatively constant input voltage to the RX regulator is desired
regardless of coupling and loading variations.

RX regulators may provide constant RX load voltage under distance variation by trimming the excessive RX rectifier voltage.
However, the input voltage to the RX regulator should not be
too high compared with the required RX load voltage. High
input voltage to regulators may result in device breakdown.
In addition, excess input power may generate heat and reduce
efficiency because the power exceeding the required amount
will be dissipated uselessly in the RX regulator [5]. Therefore,
a relatively constant input voltage to the RX regulator is desired
regardless of coupling and load variations.
There have been many efforts to obtain the constant output
voltage. References [1], [2], and [11] achieved constant output
voltage under coupling and loading variations for high-power
application (10 W2 kW). However, those implementations
require lossy, complex, and bulky additional components and
power-consuming active devices for feedback or communication. Although such bulky and power-consuming components
are acceptable for high-power systems such as [1], [2], and [11],
these are not allowed in low-power lightweight applications.
References [3], [4], [12], and [23] exhibit relatively constant
output voltage under coupling variation. However, the variation
of output voltage is relatively high, and the distance range for
constant output is limited. In addition, the effect of load resistance variation on output voltage is not discussed. Reference
[5] employs a communication link to notify the TX of the RXs
power demand. Upon the receipt of the RXs power demand,
the TX power amplifier (PA) supply voltage is adjusted using a
dcdc converter. This coarsely regulates the RX rectifier output
(or regulator input). In this way, the input voltage to the RX
regulator does not exceed the required load voltage by too
much, and the power loss at the RX regulator is kept below
a reasonable level under the coupling or loading variations.
However, the scheme [5] requires communication functionality,
a power control unit, and a wide-output-range dc/dc converter,

0278-0046 2013 IEEE

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONICS, VOL. 61, NO. 5, MAY 2014

all of which increase the system cost and complexity. The


power consumption at such active blocks is not allowed for lowpower system.
In addition to a stable output voltage, the system efficiency
should be high, whereas the utilized components should be
compact. Most of the previous wireless power systems have
relied on discrete power MOSFET as a PA switch due to its
low on-resistance compared with that of an integrated CMOS
switch. In the case of [5] and [8], an on-chip CMOS circuit is
used to implement the TX control loop, whereas the external
power MOSFET and the gate driver are used for the PA switch.
Integrating the power MOSFET into the on-chip CMOS would
reduce system cost and complexity. Reference [4] utilized integrated CMOS transistors for its PA switch. However, the width
of the CMOS switch could not be increased indefinitely because
the gate input capacitance Cg is also increased with the transistor width. Large gate capacitance increases the power consumption at the gate driver. Due to this tradeoff, it was not possible to
sufficiently reduce the on-resistance of the PA switch (5 ).
As a result, the TX coil was designed to be as large as 6 H
in order to minimize the effect of on-resistance [4].
Unlike previous works, the proposed TX structure utilizes
on-chip CMOS switches for better integration. Moreover, a
much smaller coil (500 nH), which can be patterned on a
printed circuit board (PCB), is used without losing efficiency.
As a result, a compact but efficient system is realized. To stabilize the output voltage against coupling and loading variations,
we propose the parallel-resonant TX and RX topology that
oscillates at the frequency at which constant output is obtained.
This scheme does not require any bulky or power-consuming
external devices. We also propose a novel two-coil resonator to
extend the distance limit up to which the constant output voltage
is obtained.
This paper is organized as follows. Section II compares the
series- and the parallel-resonant topologies and explains the
reason for the higher efficiency at parallel-resonant topology
under the component loss and size constraints. Section III
investigates the output voltage sensitivity against coupling and
loading variations and proposes schemes to stabilize the output
voltage. Section IV proposes a novel resonator structure consisting of two parallel coils in order to extend the constantoutput distance range. Section V presents the measurement
results. Conclusions are drawn in Section VI.
II. R ESONANCE T OPOLOGY S ELECTION
FOR H IGH E FFICIENCY
Practically, there are limitations on maximum obtainable
efficiency of wireless power transfer (WPT) due to component
losses. Notably, the on-resistance of a CMOS switch and the
parasitic resistances of PCB coils reduce the efficiency. This
section proposes that the parallel-resonant TX and RX topology
is efficient under the given component losses.
A. Generalized Equivalent Circuit of WPT
Fig. 2(a) illustrates an equivalent circuit of a WPT system.
The effect of magnetic coupling with an RX is represented as

Fig. 2. (a) Equivalent circuit of the WPT system. (b) Coupling effect between
TX and RX can be represented as an equivalent impedance value called
reflected impedance. The reflected resistance should be high compared with
the TX parasitic resistance in order to obtain high efficiency.

an equivalent impedance value in a TX circuit called reflected


impedance. The power consumed in the reflected resistance is
equal to the actual power transferred to the RX. Therefore, the
real part of the reflected impedance should be sufficiently larger
than the parasitic resistance of the TX RTX in order to obtain
high efficiency [13] and [14].
For a series-resonant RX, the reflected impedance at RX
resonant frequency 0 is
Zreected = k 2 0 L1 QRX

(1)

where 0 is the resonant frequency of the RX LC tank, QRX


is the loaded-Q of the RX, and k is the magnetic coupling
coefficient. For the parallel-resonant RX, the reflected impedance is
Zreected = k 2 0 L1 (QRX j).

(2)

In both cases, the RX loaded-Q and the TX inductance


should be large in order to obtain high reflected resistance under
the given coupling coefficient.
B. TX Resonance Topology
TX resonance topology is selected between series and parallel resonances by considering the achievable PA efficiency
under the given component loss constraints.
For a system driven by a series-resonant class-D amplifier,
the equivalent circuit is shown in Fig. 3. Its efficiency is
ef f =

1
1+

RDSon
Rreflected

(3)

where RDSon is the on-resistance of the TX CMOS switch,


and Rreected is the real part of the reflected impedance of the
RX [15]. The on-resistance of an nMOS transistor whose width
and length are 2880 and 0.35 m, respectively, is simulated as
RDSon = 1.7 . Rreected can be evaluated using (1) or (2)
under the given k, QRX , and L1 . k and QRX are limited by
geometry and RX power consumption, whose values are around
0.1 and 11.9 in this paper. Equation (1) or (2) implies that the
TX coil L1 should be large in order to obtain high Rreected

AHN AND HONG: WIRELESS POWER TRANSMISSION WITH OUTPUT VOLTAGE FOR BIOMEDICAL IMPLANT

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Fig. 3. (a) System driven by a series-resonant class-D PA. (b) Equivalent


circuit represented by reflected impedance.

in (3). However, there are practical geometric limitations on the


maximum obtainable TX inductance. Moreover, the coupling
coefficient between TX and RX is gradually reduced when the
turn number of the coils is increased because the inner turn
diameter is reduced as the turn number is increased. Therefore,
the increase in TX inductance does not provide increased reflected resistance beyond a certain TX inductance value. Under
such constraints, TX inductance values of 614 and 1270 nH are
obtained with turn numbers of 3 and 5, respectively, for an outer
square side of 30 mm.
For a five-turn coil, reflected resistance Rreected is at most
7.6 . Substituting RDSon and Rreected into (3), the efficiency
of the PA is 1/(1 + 1.7/7.6) = 81.7%, which is somewhat low.
If the three-turn coil is used, the calculated PA efficiency would
be at most 68.3%. This is because the magnitudes of RDSon
and Rreected are quite similar and, therefore, a similar amount
of power is dissipated in each resistor.
On the other hand, for a parallel-resonant TX, the effect of
the CMOS switch RDSon is not that serious. Fig. 4(a) illustrates
a system driven by a parallel-resonant class-D PA. To find
the efficiency of the parallel-resonant class-D PA, the reflected
resistance shown in Fig. 4(b) is transformed to a parallel resistor
using the relationship of
RP
=

02 L21
Rreected

(4)

as illustrated in Fig. 4(c) under the condition of Rreected 


0 L1 . The efficiency of the parallel-resonant class-D PA is [15]
ef f =

1+

2
2

RDSon
RP

Fig. 4. (a) System driven by a parallel-resonant class-D PA. (b) Equivalent


circuit represented with the reflected resistance. (c) Reflected resistance is
transformed to a parallel resistor RP .

consumed in Rreected than in RDSon because of the large


resonant current in the LC tank, yielding the higher efficiency.
In conclusion, the parallel-resonant TX can achieve high
efficiency even with high-RDSon CMOS switches. In addition,
the parallel-resonant TX is advantageous in terms of power
regulation and circuit implementation, which will be discussed
in Section III.
C. RX Resonance Topology
The RX resonance topology should be selected in such a way
that the loaded-Q of the RX is high in order to obtain high
reflected resistance.
The loaded-Q factors of the series- and the parallel-resonant
circuits are
QRX,series =

0 L2
RL

(6)

QRX,parallel =

RL
0 L2

(7)

(5)

259 into (5), the


Substituting RDSon = 1.7 and RP =
calculated PA efficiency is 96.9%, which is higher than that
of the series-resonant PA. This is because reflected resistance
Rreected is boosted into RP as a result of the series-toparallel transformation. Although the orders of magnitude of
RDSon and Rreected are the same, much higher power is

respectively. Load resistance RL is determined by the power


demand of the RX. A load resistance of 122.5 consumes
100 mW under 3.5-V load voltage. The maximum RX inductance obtainable is 2 H for the dimensions of 20 mm
20 mm.

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONICS, VOL. 61, NO. 5, MAY 2014

Fig. 5. RX internal loss caused by coil parasitic resistance. Parasitic resistance


RS2 can be converted to parasitic conductance RP 2 , which is connected in
parallel with load resistance. RP 2 should be high compared with RL in order
to minimize the RX internal loss.

For a series-resonant RX, the maximum achievable loaded-Q


factor is 0.84, which is too small. For the parallel-resonant RX,
however, the loaded-Q is 11.9. Therefore, the parallel-resonant
RX topology is selected in this paper. The selection of RX
topology is also discussed in [30].
According to (7), a smaller RX inductance L2 would increase
the loaded-Q and, therefore, would increase reflected resistance. However, too small RX inductance increases the RX coil
loss at the parallel-resonant LC tank. Fig. 5 shows that the RX
coil parasitic RS2 , which is originally connected in series with
the RX coil, can be converted to a parallel resistance RP 2 . For
high efficiency, RP 2 should be much larger than load resistance
RL . The series-to-parallel conversion relation is
RP 2 =

02 L22
.
RS2

(8)

Denoting N as the turn number of coils, inductance L2


grows on the order of N 2 , whereas parasitic resistance RS2
grows much more slowly than N 2 [9]. Therefore, a small turn
number of the RX coil reduces RP 2 and increases the power
loss at RP 2 . In conclusion, a tradeoff between high loaded-Q
and low RX-loss should be considered in determining the RX
coil turn number.
The loaded-Q is improved if the frequency is lowered, as
shown in (7). However, at the same time, the RX coil loss is
exacerbated, as shown in Fig. 5. The 8-MHz resonant frequency
of the RX was selected by the tradeoff between the RX loaded-Q
and the RX coil loss.
III. C ONSTANT O UTPUT VOLTAGE U NDER C OUPLING AND
L OAD VARIATIONS U SING S ELF -O SCILLATING TX
This section proposes that the output voltage of the parallelresonant TX and RX configuration is insensitive to coupling
and loading variations if the operating frequency is adjusted
according to the coupling variation. While the idea of split frequency operation is previously suggested for various purposes
[21], [31] and [32], the aim of this paper is the constant output voltage under parallel-resonant topology and distance/load
variations.
A. Constant Output Voltage Under Coupling Variation
1) Basic Concept: The output load voltage is constant if the
output power is constant for a given load resistance. Therefore,
a method to maintain constant output power under the coupling

Fig. 6. Measured output impedance Zout in Fig. 4. (a) Phase of Zout . The
class-D PA should be operated at the zero-phase frequencies for soft switching.
(b) Real part of Zout , which determines the output power.

variation for a given load is proposed. In Section III-B, it will


be also shown that this technique maintains constant output
voltage also under the varying load resistance. The output
power is determined by
PPAOUT =

2
2 VDD
2 RP

(9)

where RP is the parallel resistance, as shown in Fig. 4(c) [15].


The output power and, consequently, the output voltage will be
constant if RP is kept constant against the coupling variation.
The parallel-resonant class-D PA should be operated at the
resonant frequency, or the zero-phase frequency, of the output
LC tank in order to reduce switching losses. Fig. 6(a) illustrates
the phases of the output impedance for different coupling
coefficients. There are three zero-phase frequencies (or resonant frequencies) for each coupling coefficient. The center
zero-phase frequency is near the original resonant frequency,
whereas the two side zero-phase frequencies are generated by
the coupling between TX and RX.
Fig. 6(b) illustrates the real part of the output impedance
for each coupling coefficient. Two split impedance peaks are
generated at the two side zero-phase frequencies. Note that
the magnitude of the resistance at the left peak frequencies
is nearly constant regardless of coupling. This implies that
constant output power, and thus the constant output voltage,

AHN AND HONG: WIRELESS POWER TRANSMISSION WITH OUTPUT VOLTAGE FOR BIOMEDICAL IMPLANT

Fig. 7. Equivalent circuit to find PA output admittance for parallel-resonant


TX and RX. Constant reflected admittance can be obtained under coupling
variation if the operating frequency tracks the split frequencies automatically.

will be obtained if the excitation frequency tracks the split peak


frequencies when the coupling is changed.
2) Fixed-Frequency Operation: If the operating frequency
is fixed at the original resonant frequency 0 , the parallel output
conductance 1/RP can be calculated using Fig. 4, resulting in
1 Rreected 2 1
QRX .
=
=k
RP
02 L21
0 L1

(10)

Substituting (10) into (9) gives the output power


PPAOUT =

2 2 2 1
V k
QRX
2 DD 0 L1

(11)

which is proportional to k 2 . Therefore, the output power


at fixed-frequency operation is very sensitive to coupling
variation.
3) Tracking Optimum Frequency According to Coupling:
As discussed in Section III-A1, constant output impedance can
be obtained under coupling variation if the system operates
at the split resonant frequency. The split resonant frequencies
are found using the procedures outlined in [14], [16], or [17],
resulting in
0
0
.
(12)
, and =
=
1k
1+k
The KVL equation in Fig. 7 can be written as

1
(I1 IS ) + jL1 I1 + jk L1 L2 I2 = 0
jC1

RL
I2 = 0.
jk L1 L2 I1 + jL2 I2 +
1 + jRL C2

(13.a)
(13.b)

The output admittance in Fig. 7 at the low-side split resonant


frequency is obtained by evaluating YOUT = jC1 IS /(IS
I1 ), resulting in



j0 C1 1 1/k jQRX / 1 + k

YOUT |= 0 =
(14)

2 Q 2 
1+k
RX
1 + k 1 k1 + 1+k
which is reduced to
1
0 C 1
YOUT
=
=
QRX
RP

(15)

under the condition of


k2 

1+k
.
Q2RX

(16)

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Fig. 8. Equivalent circuit to find PA output resistance for series-resonant TX.


Unlike that of its parallel-resonant TX counterpart, the output voltage of the
series-resonant TX is sensitive to coupling variation.

Therefore, the admittance becomes independent of coupling


when the coupling and the RX-Q are sufficiently high. Substituting (15) into (9) gives the output power of a class-D
amplifier. The induced voltage to load resistance becomes
constant if the output power is constant under the given load
resistance. The induced voltage can be found using (9) and (15),
resulting in

2 C1
(17)
VLOAD |= 0 = VDD
2 C2
1+k
which is independent of the coupling coefficient. Therefore,
the parallel-resonant TX and RX system, such as that shown
in Fig. 7, exhibits constant output voltage when the operating
frequency is adjusted to the resonant frequencies in (12).
Note that, unlike that of the parallel-resonant TX, the output
voltage of series-resonant TX varies under the coupling variation even if frequency tracking is used as in (12). Fig. 8(a)
illustrates the equivalent circuit to find the PA output resistance
for series-resonant TX. The output resistance at the low-side
split frequency is
ROUT |= 0
= 0 L1 QRX (1 + k)

(18)

1+k

under the condition of k 2  ((1 + k)/(Q2RX )). Unlike the


parallel-resonant TX case in (15), the output resistance of the
series-resonant TX in (18) varies depending on the coupling
even at the split resonant frequencies.
B. Constant Output Voltage Under Load Variation
The power demand in an RX is continuously varied during
its operation. The decrease in power demand under the given
supply voltage corresponds to the increase in load resistance.
Therefore, to meet the various power demands, the system
should be able to maintain a constant output voltage even when
the load resistance is varied.
Unfortunately, the fixed-frequency operation at the original
resonant frequency is not able to maintain a constant output
voltage under load variations. The output voltage at an RX load
under fixed-frequency operation can be found as

2 1
1
(19)
VLOAD |=0 = kRL VDD
2 0 L1 0 L2
which implies that the output voltage is proportional to load
resistance RL . This induces an excessive output voltage at the

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONICS, VOL. 61, NO. 5, MAY 2014

Fig. 9. Measured real part of output impedance for different load resistances
at fixed coupling. At two split frequencies, the real part is increased with the
higher load resistance, resulting in reduced output power and constant output
voltage.

RX load when the power demand of an RX is low. This is not


what we want.
However, the operating frequency tracking discussed in
Section III-A3 allows a constant output voltage under load
resistance variation. As shown in (17), the output voltage is independent of not only the coupling but also the load resistance.
These concepts can be explained using Fig. 9, which illustrates the real parts of the output impedance values for
different load resistances. At the original resonant frequency
(8.1 MHz), the real part is reduced with the higher load resistance. The reduced output resistance draws more power from
the TX PA. However, at the low-side split resonant frequency,
the output resistance is increased with higher load resistance,
resulting in lower output power and constant output voltage.
C. Frequency-Tracking TX Circuit Implementation
The operating frequency of the PA should be automatically
adjusted to track the split resonant frequency, as discussed in
Section III-A and B. Sensing the phase difference between the
output voltage and the current could be one method to determine the operating frequency [1]. The self-oscillating class-E
PA in [3] senses the PA output signal using a transformer
and uses this signal to drive the FET directly. Reference [11]
uses a field-programmable gate-array (FPGA) board to control
the switching frequency. Although these implementations were
successful for frequency tracking, they require complex active
circuits or external components such as an FPGA, a phaselocked loop, a comparator, a rectifier, or a transformer. More
importantly, previous feedback methods are designed for a
series-resonant TX. However, a parallel-resonant TX should
be used in this paper because of its higher efficiency and
better voltage regulation, as discussed in Sections II-B, III-A3,
and III-B.
Therefore, a new scheme to track the optimum operating
frequency is proposed. Fig. 10 illustrates the frequency-tracking
oscillator class-D TX. Unlike the conventional series-resonant
TX, the feedback is easily obtained from the drain of the
switch transistor without any external components or powerconsuming active devices [18]. Among the three zero-phase

Fig. 10. (a) Proposed scheme to track the optimum operating frequency.
(b) Drain voltage and current waveform, showing the class-D zero-voltageswitching operation.

frequencies, the low-side split impedance peak has the highest magnitude and Q-factor [17]. Therefore, the oscillation
happens at the low-side split frequency [17]. In this way, the
operating frequency is automatically adjusted according to the
coupling variation.
The drain voltage of a parallel-resonant class-D PA reaches
around three times the value of VDD . According to common
practice in CMOS PA design, the voltage stress on each transistor should be kept below two times the nominal voltage of
the transistor [19]. To increase the allowable supply voltage,
the cascode configuration and the capacitive voltage divider are
employed.
Typical switch-mode PAs require a separate gate drive stage,
which charges and discharges the large gate capacitance of
the PA switch [4] and [6][8]. For a large switch transistor,
the gate capacitance and the burden on the drive stage are
increased, the effect of which is more severe in a low-power
system. Therefore, there has been a limitation on the allowable
switch transistor size and the resultant on-resistance [4]. In the
proposed scheme, however, the gate capacitance of a switch
transistor is absorbed as a part of the resonating capacitor of the
LC tank. Therefore, the gate drive stage is not required and the
large switch transistor can be used. As a result, the on-resistance
of the switch transistor can be reduced.
Since the oscillation happens at the zero-phase frequency, the
drain voltage and current waveform resembles that of a class-D
PA. Therefore, the switching loss in TX is minimized [18].
In conclusion, the proposed self-oscillating class-D TX implements the frequency-tracking property to obtain constant
output voltage with high efficiency.

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Fig. 12. Two-coil resonator in an RX in Fig. 11 can be split into two strongly
coupled resonators.

Fig. 11. (a) RX resonator consisting of two coils. (b) Comparison of output
resistances between the one-coil and the two-coil RXs under the same distance
variations.

IV. T WO -C OIL R ESONATOR AND T WO S TRONGLY


C OUPLED R ESONATORS FOR D ISTANCE E NHANCEMENT
The coupling strength should be large enough to satisfy the
constant-output condition in (16). The output voltage is reduced
if the coupling coefficient becomes smaller and the condition in
(16) is no longer valid. To alleviate this problem, we propose
a new resonator structure capable to achieve constant output
voltage with coupling strength lower than that obtained in (16).
Consider a single RX resonator that contains two parallel
coils, as depicted in Fig. 11(a). The output admittance in
Fig. 11(a) becomes constant as
YOUT |=
under the condition of

1+ 2k

0 C1
2QRX

1 + 2k
.
k 
8Q2RX
2

(20)

(21)

Inspecting (21) and comparing it with (16), the smaller


coupling strength is enough to maintain the constant output
admittance. Therefore, the distance for the constant output
voltage is extended using a two-coil resonator Rx. Fig. 11(b)
compares the output resistances between the one-coil and the
two-coil RXs under the same distances. The left peak resistance
of the two-coil resonator is kept constant even with smaller
coupling, whereas the resistance of the one-coil resonator is
increased quite a lot with the smaller coupling.
In actual implementation, there exists coupling kRX between
the two coils within an RX resonator. This coupling detunes
the resonant frequency of the RX. To compensate for the

detuning effect, the resonating capacitor C2 should be adjusted


accordingly. The required capacitor value is changed from 2C2
to 2C2 /(1 + kRX ).
If kRX approaches unity, the two split coils of an RX can
be treated as one thicker coil. Then, the coupling condition
required for constant voltage would approach (16). Since the
kRX of 0.61 was measured in this paper, the minimum required
coupling for constant output voltage becomes larger than that
in (21) but smaller than the one in (16).
In an actual situation, kRX  k. Then, a two-coil resonator
can be split into two strongly coupled resonators, as illustrated
in Fig. 12. The performances of the two-coil resonator and of
the two strongly coupled resonators are similar because the
currents flowing in the two kinds of coils are almost the same.
At first glance, it seems that the proposed structure shown
in Fig. 12 resembles the well-known resonator structure with
an additional impedance matching loop [20][22]. However,
the role of the impedance matching loop in [20][22] is not to
couple with TX resonator but to minimize the loading effect
and maximize the loaded-Q [16] and [29]. Although the reduced loading effect (i.e., high loaded-Q) increases the reflected
resistance, the RX efficiency is degraded, as shown in Fig. 5,
because the power consumption in the load resistance becomes
smaller compared with losses in the coil parasitic resistance.
In this paper, since the loading effect is already sufficiently
low, an additional impedance matching loop, such as those in
[20][22], will degrade the RX internal efficiency. Under such
constraints, the two resonators in Fig. 12 are useful in that
they extend the distance range without reducing the RX internal
efficiency.
The TX can be also configured as a two-coil resonator, whose
output admittance is calculated as
YOUT |=

1+ 2k

20 C1
QRX

(22)

under the condition of

1 + 2k
.
k 
2Q2RX
2

(23)

Comparing (22) with (15), it is shown that the output admittance is increased using a two-coil TX resonator. This increases
the output voltage under the given TX supply voltage.

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONICS, VOL. 61, NO. 5, MAY 2014

Fig. 13. (a) Schematic of the fabricated system. (b) Photograph of the fabricated system.

Fig. 15. Measurement results versus distance and load variation. TX VDD is
2.5 V. A TX with a two-coil resonator and an RX with two strongly coupled
resonators. (a) Output voltage. (b) Efficiency.

Fig. 14. (a) Chip photograph of the implemented class-D oscillator. (b) Chip
photograph of the fabricated RX active rectifier.

V. M EASUREMENT R ESULTS
Fig. 13(a) provides a schematic of the proposed system,
which consists of frequency-tracking CMOS TX, PCB coil,
and CMOS RX rectifier. Fig. 13(b) provides a photograph of
the fabricated system. FR4 PCB substrate is used to fabricate
the system. The bottom plate is the TX, and the top plate is the
RX. The coupling coil is patterned on the PCB. The TX coil
size is 3 cm by 3 cm, and the RX coil size is 2 cm by 2 cm.
At the backside of each plate, an additional coil with identical
dimensions is patterned to implement the two-coil resonator

discussed in Section IV. The RF choke, resonating capacitor,


and CMOS oscillating driver are mounted on the TX PCB. The
resonating capacitor, CMOS active rectifier, and load resistance
are mounted on the RX PCB.
Fig. 14 shows a chip photograph of the TX class-D oscillator
and the RX active rectifier. The frequency-tracking oscillation class-D PA and the RX rectifier are implemented using
0.35-m standard CMOS technology. The chips are connected
to the PCB pattern using bonding wires. For the RX rectifier,
although a discrete Schottky diode provides a lower voltage
drop (0.3 V per diode) than that of other types of diode,
this voltage drop is still unacceptable for low-voltage output.
Therefore, active rectification methods [10] are used to avoid
diode voltage drops.
Fig. 15(a) shows that the measured output voltage is insensitive to distance and load variations. The output voltage of
the higher load resistance is constant up to a distance longer
than that possible with the lower load resistance. As the load
resistance is reduced, the loaded-Q of the RX resonator is also
reduced. In order to satisfy the constant-output condition in (16)
or (21) under the reduced loaded-Q, higher coupling is needed.
Therefore, the output voltage drops more quickly with smaller
load resistance as the distance is increased.
As the load resistance is increased, the output voltage increases
slightly and converges to a constant value asymptotically. The
system is stable even under the no-load condition, limiting its
induced voltage to 4 V.

AHN AND HONG: WIRELESS POWER TRANSMISSION WITH OUTPUT VOLTAGE FOR BIOMEDICAL IMPLANT

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Fig. 17. Output power and efficiency versus supply voltage. The proposed
system can be operated in the wide range of supply voltages. Maximum power
of 174 mW can be transmitted with 63% efficiency.

Fig. 16. Comparison between the conventional single-coil resonator and the
proposed resonators.

Fig. 15(b) represents the measured efficiency. The efficiency


values are over 65% for 120- and 180- load resistances. The
efficiency is degraded as the load resistance is increased. This is
because the power loss in the coil parasitic resistance remains
the same, whereas the load power consumption is decreased,
resulting in RX efficiency degradation. Careful selection of
topology and coil turn numbers yielded high efficiency, although the individual components such as the PCB coil and
CMOS switch are relatively lossy.
Fig. 16 compares the two kinds of RXs, which contain a
single coil and two coils, respectively. The load resistance used
is 180 . Fig. 16(a) shows that the output voltages of a twocoil resonator or of the two strongly coupled resonators are
insensitive to coupling variations, as discussed in Section IV.
In the case of the conventional single-coil resonator, the output
voltage quickly drops as the distance is slightly increased.
Fig. 16(b) shows that the efficiency values of the two strongly
coupled resonators or of the two-coil resonator are higher than
that of the single-coil resonator. This is because the current
flowing in the coil is divided into two coils, and thus, the power
loss is reduced.
Fig. 17 shows that the system can be operated in a wide range
of supply voltages. The load resistance is 75 , and the distance
is 10 mm. Maximum power of 174 mW can be transmitted with
63% efficiency at the 3.0-V supply voltage.
Fig. 18 provides the efficiency values of individual blocks.
The overall efficiency is mainly limited by the TX-to-RX
resonator efficiency. When the load resistance is increased to

Fig. 18. Efficiency values of individual blocks.

470 , the resonator efficiency is degraded due to the increased


RX internal loss, as explained in Fig. 5.
Table I compares the performances obtained in previous
works to that obtained in this paper.
VI. D EPLOYMENT I NTO THE B ODY
The system is intended to be used for short-distance portable
biomedical application, in which the external power TX is
attached outside the skin while the implanted RX is beneath
the skin. Some examples with the same coil dimension can be
found in [5], [24], and [25].
For actual deployment into the body, the RX may need to
be coated with biocompatible materials [24], [26], and [27].
The packaging techniques using biocompatible materials are
being actively studied [26]. The packaging is also essential in
order to protect the metals and electronic parts from the corrosive biological environment [27]. Depending on the surgical
circumstances, standard solid wires can be also used instead
of the patterned PCB coil. The solid wires can be implanted
separately from the PCB [5] and [25]. Although this paper
utilized PCB coils for low-cost RX, the discussions and the
proposed techniques are still applicable with the standard wires.
Fig. 19 provides the simulated specific absorption rate
(SAR). The SAR is simulated for the designed TX under the
nominal L1 current of 228 mA at 2.5-V VDD . While the body
consists of various types of tissues, blood was simulated as

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONICS, VOL. 61, NO. 5, MAY 2014

TABLE I
P ERFORMANCE C OMPARISON

Fig. 19. Simulated local SAR distribution. The peak local SAR is simulated as 0.37 W/kg, which is five times lower than the ICNIRP guideline. For the blood
at 8.1 MHz, conductivity is 1.08 S/m, relative permittivity is 347, and loss tangent is 6.9 [28].

a homogeneous tissue phantom because blood is one of the


most lossy tissues. The electrical parameters for blood can be
found in [28]. HFSS 3-D electromagnetic field solver is used
for simulation. The International Commission on Non-Ionizing
Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guideline states that the localized SAR shall be below 2 W/kg. The simulated maximum
SAR is 0.37 W/kg, which is five times lower than the ICNIRP
guideline.
VII. C ONCLUSION
A wireless power system for biomedical implants has been
analyzed and implemented. The system achieves high efficiency even with lossy but compact components such as the
PCB pattern coil and the CMOS switch. The output voltage is
kept constant under distance and load variations by employing the proposed parallel resonance topology and frequencytracking scheme.
The proposed parallel-resonant class-D oscillator TX tracks
the split resonant frequency, at which the constant output voltage is obtained. It is also proposed that the two-coil resonator

structure extends the operating distance for the constant output


voltage. The proposed system does not require any additional
blocks to stabilize its output voltage against coupling and loading variations. Zero-voltage switching of the designed class-D
oscillator TX is achieved because of its oscillation at zerophase frequency, resulting in low switching losses. Overall, the
proposed topology allows for a compact, efficient, and robust
wireless power system for biomedical implants.
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Dukju Ahn received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Seoul
National University, Seoul, Korea, in 2007 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in
electrical engineering from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon, Korea, in 2010 and 2012, respectively.
Since January 2013, he has been a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with
the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of
Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA. His research interests include wireless power
transfer, near-field communication, and analog/RF integrated circuit design for
biomedical and portable applications.
Dr. Ahn was a recipient of the Encouragement Prize in the 17th Human-Tech
Thesis Contest from Samsung Electronics in 2011.

Songcheol Hong (S87M88) received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in electronics from Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea, in 1982 and 1984,
respectively, and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University
of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA, in 1989.
Since May 1989, he has been a Faculty Member with the Department of
Electrical Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology,
Daejeon, Korea. In 1997, he held short visiting professorships with Stanford
University, Palo Alto, CA, and Samsung Microwave Semiconductor, Suwon,
Korea. His research interests are in microwave integrated circuits and systems, including power amplifiers for mobile communications, miniaturized radar, millimeter-wave frequency synthesizers, and novel semiconductor devices.