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5, MAY 2014

2225

Output Voltage for Biomedical Implant

Dukju Ahn and Songcheol Hong, Member, IEEE

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

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

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,

2226

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.

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)

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)

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)

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

2227

circuit represented by reflected impedance.

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)

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

ef f =

1+

2

2

RDSon

RP

circuit represented with the reflected resistance. (c) Reflected resistance is

transformed to a parallel resistor RP .

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)

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

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.

2228

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.

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)

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.

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)

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

TX and RX. Constant reflected admittance can be obtained under coupling

variation if the operating frequency tracks the split frequencies automatically.

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)

PPAOUT =

2 2 2 1

V k

QRX

2 DD 0 L1

(11)

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)

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)

k2

1+k

.

Q2RX

(16)

2229

Unlike that of its parallel-resonant TX counterpart, the output voltage of the

series-resonant TX is sensitive to coupling variation.

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

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

2230

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.

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.

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

2231

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.

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)

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

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)

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.

2232

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

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

2233

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.

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

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

2234

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].

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

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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[32] D. Ahn and S. Hong, A transmitter or a receiver consisting of two

strongly coupled resonators for enhanced resonant coupling in wireless

power transfer, IEEE Trans. Ind. Electron., vol. 61, no. 3, pp. 11931203,

Mar. 2014.

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.

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