Powering Implantable Sensors and Devices

Case ID:

This invention seeks to create a capacitor-based alternative to existing battery-based portable and miniaturized power storage systems that are necessary for powering implanted sensors and devices, down to the micro- and nano-scale level. The proposed technology employs nano-wired ultra capacitors (NUC), composed of a dielectric membrane placed between two thin metal films, which are capable of rapid discharging and charging and have a significant useful lifetime before degradation.


Background: Existing batteries, especially those used in implantable sensors, are expensive, inconvenient to employ for an extended amount of time, and suffer from “memory effects” and a relatively low energy density. In addition, these battery systems are often not biocompatible, toxic, and must be recycled post useful lifespan. With the increase in medical procedures requiring constant monitoring and in situ intervention, demand is also subsequently increasing for implantable sensors or devices equipped to provide up-to-date information regarding a patient’s condition, and ready to administer drugs in situ and on demand in a non-invasive manner (e.g., insulin pumps).



  • Medical (implantable) sensors and devices, down to micro- and nano-scale levels, such as, but not limited to:
    • Intraocular pressure sensors
    • In situ drug-delivery devices (e.g., insulin pumps)
    • In situ flow-modulation systems (e.g., implanted dynamic or tunable shunts, or micro pumps)
    • Implantable micro- or nanoelectromechanical ocular diagnostic devices


  • Small footprint for micro- and nano-scaled applications

  • Direct storage of electrical energy with high efficiency since no energy conversion involved in storing/discharging processes

  • High volumetric and gravimetric energy density with very high power density in device

  • Longer useful lifetime as measured by the number of charge/discharge cycles before degradation

  • Much less of a “memory effect” compared to rechargeable batteries by orders of magnitude

  • Fast charging/discharging (minutes, seconds) with low internal power dissipation in comparison to batteries (hours)

  • Charging and discharging processes are safe, stable, and without any toxic emissions, offering enhanced safety

  • Negligible intrinsic self-discharge rate and high self-discharge resistance

  • Enhanced ecology and environmental safety, because made of non-toxic and non-explosive materials

  • Possible use of potentially biocompatible materials

  • Use of readily-available and inexpensive materials

Status: issued U.S. patent #11,737,667

Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Rakhi Gibbons
Director of Licensing & IP
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Wolfgang Fink
Olgierd Palusinski