Low noise amplifiers for biomedical applications find use in implantable pacemakers and other devices
The human body is alive with electrical signals. The steady beeping of a heart monitor is a constant in hospital rooms. Electrocardiograms (EKG or ECG) are vital diagnostic tools for the human heart, and electroencephalograms (EEG) play a crucial role in diagnosing and better understanding seizure disorders and other afflictions of the human brain. However, crucial and constant as these signals are, they are faint. A low noise amplifier for biomedical applications is a crucial element in allowing these weak electrical impulses to be displayed and analyzed by medical professionals.
Operational amplifier applications are one of the most common low power amplifier circuits used in biometrics. Steady, interpretable signals are required in nearly all electronics. It is especially critical in medicine where biological signals are low in both voltage and amplitude and multiple signals can be present in the same volume. Ideally, a low noise amplifier for biomedical applications simply amplifies the needed signal without amplifying additional electrical impulses—noise—picked up by the sensor into the signal. The advent of wireless connectivity is also dramatically increasing the role of low noise amplifiers for biomedical applications in medical devices and the networked devices they transmit to.
The Increasing Role of Data in the Biomedical Field
The traditional place that medical data has been collected, and interpreted is at the medical bedside. This is the most familiar role for low noise amplifiers for biomedical applications: boosting the biological signals collected by medical sensors into more powerful signals that generate the beeps that are so associated with hospitalization in the collective conscience.
However, the last thirty years have been the decades of data. Seeing a vast expansion in the amount and type of data that is collected, as well as where it is collected. The medical field is no exception. Widespread wireless connectivity has brought critical lifesaving technology from the hospital bedside to the home nightstand or even a wrist. Fitness tracker designs being in effect an “over the counter” biomedical data collection device. It has also allowed for a variety of wearable devices or medical implants for life saving critical interventions, or those that merely improve a patient’s quality of life daily. A few notable examples are:
These are unique devices that make for wider use of low noise amplifiers for biomedical applications than even just a decade ago. An implantable device like a pacemaker will have a sensor that leads to a low noise amplifier that boosts the signal for data interpretation. What that data says will determine whether or not that pacemaker produces an electric current to correct the heart’s timing.
Modern pacemakers may also transmit this data to a bedside monitoring device with an antenna that has its own low noise amplifier that boosts the received signal, records it, and transmits it so that it can be monitored and analyzed by medical professionals. Providing a new level of care for patients who need it.
Fortunately, microchip and microprocessor development is a mature industry with manufacturers like Texas Instruments offering a range of medical products such as operational and precision amplifiers that are suitable low noise amplifiers for biomedical applications. Microchip offers a full range of microcomponents that support preventative telehealthcare home monitoring devices as well as supporting more general clinical and medical technology. With ST Microelectronics offering support for electro-mechanical medical systems including remote patient monitoring. Designers will provide comprehensive component support for low noise amplifiers for both analog front ends and receivers.
Low Noise Amplifiers for Biomedical Applications
The needs of biomedical devices are diverse. A pacemaker has a distinctly different role than an infusion pump. An infusion pump can be a bedside, wearable, or implantable device that delivers a steady flow of medication to treat an illness. Each type has a distinctly different use case than the other, and as a result programming and data profiles are distinctly different; the same is true of other biomedical devices like pacemaker or other implantable devices like neurostimulators or cardioverter-defibrillators.
Low noise amplifiers for biomedical applications for something like an implantable pacemaker may not be ideal or needed for something like an infusion pump. It is potentially less complicated with less need for monitoring. Similarly a neurostimulator that is designed to treat back pain may have a lesser requirement for signal detection and low noise amplification than an implanted neurostimulator that is meant to anticipate a seizure by detecting changes in brainwave patterns.
Electrical circuit design for biomedical applications must account for these different requirements. They also may need to account for being part of a multitiered data collection and analysis regime as part of a patient’s course of care. A pacemaker or neurostimulator is no longer just a device for critical life saving intervention but part of a holistic diagnostic and care program that is connected wirelessly to a base station, and through that station a widespread digital network. This means multiple low noise amplifiers for biomedical applications at several stages of this medical network. Not solely low noise amplifiers for detecting biological signals, but also amplifiers that boost already amplified simples for wireless transmission. This can make design more complex and finding the appropriate low noise amplifier for biomedical applications more of a challenge. Although an intuitive library of CAD models of low noise amplifiers for biomedical applications along with the components they will be working alongside can simplify the process.
How Ultra Librarian Assists the Design of Biomedical Devices
If you’re looking for CAD models for common components or for important information on special uses like low noise amplifiers for biomedical applications, Ultra Librarian helps by compiling all your electrical component CAD models and sourcing information in one searchable database. Ultra Librarian simplifies component modeling allowing designers to focus on the critical elements of PCB and circuit design.