Wireless power transfer techniques for implantable medical devices: a review

Sadeque Reza Khan, Sumanth Kumar Pavuluri, Gerard Cummins, Marc P.Y. Desmulliez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
369 Downloads (Pure)


Wireless power transfer (WPT) systems have become increasingly suitable solutions for the electrical powering of advanced multifunctional micro-electronic devices such as those found in current biomedical implants. The design and implementation of high power transfer efficiency WPT systems are, however, challenging. The size of the WPT system, the separation distance between the outside environment and location of the implanted medical device inside the body, the operating frequency and tissue safety due to power dissipation are key parameters to consider in the design of WPT systems. This article provides a systematic review of the wide range of WPT systems that have been investigated over the last two decades to improve overall system performance. The various strategies implemented to transfer wireless power in implantable medical devices (IMDs) were reviewed, which includes capacitive coupling, inductive coupling, magnetic resonance coupling and, more recently, acoustic and optical powering methods. The strengths and limitations of all these techniques are benchmarked against each other and particular emphasis is placed on comparing the implanted receiver size, the WPT distance, power transfer efficiency and tissue safety presented by the resulting systems. Necessary improvements and trends of each WPT techniques are also indicated per specific IMD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3487
Pages (from-to)1-58
Number of pages58
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: The authors of this article would like to acknowledge the financial support of the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through the program grant entitled Sonopill (EP/K034537/2). Financial contribution from Heriot-Watt University, under the International Doctoral Training Account (DTA), is also gratefully acknowledged by S.R.K.


  • acoustic coupling
  • capacitive coupling
  • electromagnetic
  • implantable medical device
  • optical power transfer
  • tissue safety
  • wireless power transfer
  • Implantable medical device
  • Electromagnetic
  • Acoustic coupling
  • Optical power transfer
  • Tissue safety
  • Wireless power transfer
  • Capacitive coupling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Biochemistry


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