Article | Published:

Carbon nanotube coating improves neuronal recordings

Nature Nanotechnology volume 3, pages 434439 (2008) | Download Citation

Abstract

Implanting electrical devices in the nervous system to treat neural diseases is becoming very common. The success of these brain–machine interfaces depends on the electrodes that come into contact with the neural tissue. Here we show that conventional tungsten and stainless steel wire electrodes can be coated with carbon nanotubes using electrochemical techniques under ambient conditions. The carbon nanotube coating enhanced both recording and electrical stimulation of neurons in culture, rats and monkeys by decreasing the electrode impedance and increasing charge transfer. Carbon nanotube-coated electrodes are expected to improve current electrophysiological techniques and to facilitate the development of long-lasting brain–machine interface devices.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank L. Howard and M. Gosney of the SMU Department of Electrical Engineering for providing the custom designed MOSFET pre-amplifiers used in electrical stimulation experiments. We wish to thank H. Wiggins and C. Patten of Plexon for their rapid response to requests for electrophysiological equipment modifications.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. UTSW Medical School, Department of Plastic Surgery, Dallas, Texas 75390, USA

    • Edward W. Keefer
    •  & Mario I. Romero
  2. UTSW Medical School, Department of Cell Biology, Dallas, Texas 75390, USA

    • Barry R. Botterman
  3. Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, Dallas, Texas 75219, USA

    • Mario I. Romero
  4. Vanderbilt University, Department of Psychology, Nashville, Tennessee 37203, USA

    • Andrew F. Rossi
  5. University of North Texas, Department of Biology, Denton, Texas 76203, USA

    • Guenter W. Gross

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Contributions

E.W.K. conceived, designed and performed experiments, and wrote paper. B.R.B. and M.I.R. assisted with rodent experiments. A.F.R. provided monkey data. E.W.K. and G.W.G. developed coating techniques.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Edward W. Keefer.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2008.174

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