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Microelectronic Pills

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The invention of transistor enabled the first use of radiometry capsules, which used simple circuits for the internal study of the gastro-intestinal (GI) [1] tract. They couldn't be used as they could transmit only from a single channel and also due to the size of the components. They also suffered from poor reliability, low sensitivity and short lifetimes of the devices. This led to the application of single-channel telemetry capsules for the detection of disease and abnormalities in the GI tract where restricted area prevented the use of traditional endoscopy.

They were later modified as they had the disadvantage of using laboratory type sensors such as the glass pH electrodes, resistance thermometers, etc. They were also of very large size. The later modification is similar to the above instrument but is smaller in size due to the application of existing semiconductor fabrication technologies. These technologies led to the formation of "MICROELECTRONIC PILL".

Microelectronic pill is basically a multichannel sensor used for remote biomedical measurements using micro technology. This is used for the real-time measurement parameters such as temperature, pH, conductivity and dissolved oxygen. The sensors are fabricated using electron beam and photolithographic pattern integration and were controlled by an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC).

There are basically 4 sensors mounted on two chips- Chip 1 & chip 2. On chip 1(shown in fig 2 a), c), e)), temperature sensor silicon diode (4), pH ISFET sensor (1) and dual electrode conductivity sensor (3) are fabricated. Chip 2 comprises of three electrode electrochemical cell oxygen sensor (2) and optional NiCr resistance thermometer.

1) Sensor chip 1:
An array consisting of both temperature sensor & pH sensor platforms were cut from the wafer & attached onto 100-µm- thick glass cover slip cured on a hot plate. The plate acts as a temporary carrier to assist handling of the device during level 1 of...