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Volume 7 Issue 3, March 2012

Action potentials have a central role in the nervous system. Intracellular methods can record these potentials with high signal-to-noise ratios, but they are invasive, whereas extracellular methods suffer from reduced signal strength. In this issue three groups report advances in this field. Lieber and co-workers show that nanowire field-effect transistors can make electrical measurements on biological materials with unprecedented spatial resolution. Cui and colleagues use arrays of vertical nanopillar electrodes to make both intra- and extracellular recordings with excellent signal strength and minimal damage to the cells. And Park and co-workers show that arrays of vertical silicon nanowires can record and stimulate neuronal activity from within mammalian nerve cells, such as the rat cortical cell in this false-colour SEM image, and also study the connections between these cells. The nanowire array is below the cell and cannot be seen in this image (which is 45 μm across).

Letters p174, p180 and p185; News & Views p143

IMAGE: J. T. ROBINSON, M. JORGOLLI, F. FRANKEL AND H. PARK

COVER DESIGN: ALEX WING

Research Highlights

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News & Views

  • Two independent groups have demonstrated that nanoscale electrodes can record action potentials in neurons and cardiac muscle cells, and a third group has shown that nanowire field-effect transistors can make electrical measurements on biological materials with unprecedented spatial resolution.

    • Vladimir Parpura
    News & Views
  • The spin-dependent Peltier effect has been demonstrated in a nanostructure consisting of a non-magnetic metal sandwiched between two ferromagnetic layers.

    • Sebastian T. B. Goennenwein
    • Gerrit E. W. Bauer
    News & Views
  • Using two gold nanoparticles to connect an antibody to metal electrodes results in the formation of a molecular junction that is both stable and highly reproducible.

    • Giuseppe Maruccio
    News & Views
  • A nanowire attached to an optical fibre can deliver payloads or light into specific compartments within a living cell, and also detect optical signals from subcellular regions with high spatial resolution.

    • Yong-Eun Koo Lee
    • Raoul Kopelman
    News & Views
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Letter

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Article

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