Recent advances in soft materials and mechanics activate development of many new types of electrical medical implants. Electronic implants that provide exceptional functions, however, usually require more electrical power, resulting in shorter period of usages although many approaches have been suggested to harvest electrical power in human bodies by resolving the issues related to power density, biocompatibility, tissue damage, and others. Here, we report an active photonic power transfer approach at the level of a full system to secure sustainable electrical power in human bodies. The active photonic power transfer system consists of a pair of the skin-attachable photon source patch and the photovoltaic device array integrated in a flexible medical implant. The skin-attachable patch actively emits photons that can penetrate through live tissues to be captured by the photovoltaic devices in a medical implant. The wireless power transfer system is very simple, e.g., active power transfer in direct current (DC) to DC without extra circuits, and can be used for implantable medical electronics regardless of weather, covering by clothes, in indoor or outdoor at day and night. We demonstrate feasibility of the approach by presenting thermal and mechanical compatibility with soft live tissues while generating enough electrical power in live bodies through in vivo animal experiments. We expect that the results enable long-term use of currently available implants in addition to accelerating emerging types of electrical implants that require higher power to provide diverse convenient diagnostic and therapeutic functions in human bodies.
photonic power transfer, biomedical implants, bioelectronics, flexible electronics