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Opportunity at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Reliability and Lifetime Prediction of Active Implantable Medical Devices


Material Measurement Laboratory, Applied Chemicals and Materials Division

RO# Location
50.64.72.B7245 Boulder, CO

Please note: This Agency only participates in the February and August reviews.


Name E-mail Phone
Johnson, Ward L. 303.497.5805
Quinn, Timothy P. 303.497.3480


The combination of an aging US population and increased sophistication and miniaturization in electronics is driving the expansion of implantable medical devices (AIMDs), both for the range of use and for the quality of life these devices can provide. The range of use is envisioned to include, currently or in the near future, restoration of lost hearing, diminution of chronic pain, elimination of cardiac arrhythmia, reductions of Parkinson’s symptoms, and many other exciting applications. AIMDs can achieve these goals because they are active electronic devices that are implanted within the body and are designed to perform specific functions. However, failure of an AIMD can severely compromise a patient’s quality of life, in the best case, or cause death, in the worst case. Unfortunately, the failure rates of AIMDs are unacceptably high: several percent in non-life-threatening applications such as cochlear implants and approaching 1% for pacemakers. While the final failure sites can often be found and analyzed, the mechanisms leading to failure are not currently understood. Determination of failure mechanisms and reliability assessment are seriously complicated because while mechanical, thermal, electrical, and chemical conditions all affect the reliability of electronic components, synergistic relationships between these parameters dramatically expand the number and rates of the possible degradation processes.


Capacitor; Cochlear implant; Failure; Fatigue; Implant; Lifetime prediction; Medical devices; Pacemaker; Reliability;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants
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