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Three-dimensional macroporous nanoelectronic networks as minimally invasive brain probes

Nature Materials volume 14, pages 12861292 (2015) | Download Citation

Abstract

Direct electrical recording and stimulation of neural activity using micro-fabricated silicon and metal micro-wire probes have contributed extensively to basic neuroscience and therapeutic applications; however, the dimensional and mechanical mismatch of these probes with the brain tissue limits their stability in chronic implants and decreases the neuron–device contact. Here, we demonstrate the realization of a three-dimensional macroporous nanoelectronic brain probe that combines ultra-flexibility and subcellular feature sizes to overcome these limitations. Built-in strains controlling the local geometry of the macroporous devices are designed to optimize the neuron/probe interface and to promote integration with the brain tissue while introducing minimal mechanical perturbation. The ultra-flexible probes were implanted frozen into rodent brains and used to record multiplexed local field potentials and single-unit action potentials from the somatosensory cortex. Significantly, histology analysis revealed filling-in of neural tissue through the macroporous network and attractive neuron–probe interactions, consistent with long-term biocompatibility of the device.

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Acknowledgements

We thank J. Tian for help and discussions on animal surgeries. This study was supported by Air Force Office of Scientific Research and NSSEFF awards (C.M.L.).

Author information

Author notes

    • Chong Xie
    • , Jia Liu
    •  & Tian-Ming Fu

    These authors contributed equally to this work.

Affiliations

  1. Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA

    • Chong Xie
    • , Jia Liu
    • , Tian-Ming Fu
    • , Xiaochuan Dai
    • , Wei Zhou
    •  & Charles M. Lieber
  2. John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA

    • Charles M. Lieber

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Contributions

C.X., J.L. and C.M.L. conceived the idea and designed the experiments. C.X., J.L., T.-M.F., X.D. and W.Z. performed the experiments and analyses. C.X. and C.M.L. wrote the manuscript. All authors discussed the results, interpreted the findings and reviewed the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Chong Xie or Jia Liu or Tian-Ming Fu or Charles M. Lieber.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat4427