A surgical electrode was developed for complex surgical operations on the eye. This electrode can be quickly and highly energized to create necessary incisions with precision. In order to support this operation a controller is needed to generate such a high energy pulse.

A computer-controlled device was developed to realize such a function. An onboard high-voltage charge pump circuit is used to generate voltages up to 80 volts in under 60 seconds. This charge pump directly charges a large low-ESR aluminum capacitor, which is isolated from the remainder of the circuit and is then discharged through the electrode. An auxiliary power source enables faster charging and also provides power for other related functions, such as electrode resistance testing, and discharge current monitoring. The device also allows for connection of an external capacitor to boost capacitance and energy storage, at the cost of longer charge time.

A secondary microcontroller and high speed ADC is used for precision datalogging of the electrode discharge current, as the main microcontroller is concerned with precise charging of the capacitor and precise discharge timing of the capacitor. PC software was developed in tandem to interpret collected data and monitor footpedal switches for functional execution.

The PC communicates with the device over USB. In order to protect the PC during discharge events, logic circuitry uses USB power and the charge & discharge circuitry uses auxiliary 12V power. Analog and digital grounds are joined at a single choke point to minimize ground current back into the logic circuitry and the PC port.