Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Pedro Irazoqui

Committee Chair

Pedro Irazoqui

Committee Member 1

Robert Worth

Committee Member 2

Young Kim

Committee Member 3

Amy Brewster


Epilepsy is a spectrum of diseases characterized by recurrent seizures. It is estimated that 50 million individuals worldwide are affected and 30% of cases are medically refractory or drug resistant. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) and deep brain stimulation (DBS) are the only FDA approved device based therapies. Neither therapy offers complete seizure freedom in a majority of users. Novel methodologies are needed to better understand mechanisms and chronic nature of epilepsy. Most tools for neuromodulation in rodents are tethered. The few wireless devices use batteries or are inductively powered. The tether restricts movement, limits behavioral tests, and increases the risk of infection. Batteries are large and heavy with a limited lifetime. Inductive powering suffers from rapid efficiency drops due to alignment mismatches and increased distances. Miniature wireless tools that offer behavioral freedom, data acquisition, and stimulation are needed. This dissertation presents a platform of electrical, optical and radiofrequency (RF) technologies for device based neuromodulation. The platform can be configured with features including: two channels differential recording, one channel electrical stimulation, and one channel optical stimulation. Typical device operation consumes less than 4 mW. The analog front end has a bandwidth of 0.7 Hz - 1 kHz and a gain of 60 dB, and the constant current driver provides biphasic electrical stimulation. For use with optogenetics, the deep brain optical stimulation module provides 27 mW/mm2 of blue light (473 nm) with 21.01 mA. Pairing of stimulating and recording technologies allows closed-loop operation. A wireless powering cage is designed using the resonantly coupled filter energy transfer (RCFET) methodology. RF energy is coupled through magnetic resonance. The cage has a PTE ranging from 1.8-6.28% for a volume of 11 x 11 x 11 in3. This is sufficient to chronically house subjects. The technologies are validated through various in vivo preparations. The tools are designed to study epilepsy, SUDEP, and urinary incontinence but can be configured for other studies. The broad application of these technologies can enable the scientific community to better study chronic diseases and closed-loop therapies.